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VOL.    VI.    1848-1859 





Your  name  is  great 

In  mouths  of  wisest  censure. 

Othello,  Act  II 









VOL.  VI.     1848-1859. 



Entered  according  to  Act  of  Congress  in  the  Year  1888,  by 

In  the  Office  of  the  Librarian  of  Congress,  at  Washington. 

All  Rights  Reserved. 

V  . 




January,  1848. 


The  Valley  of  California — Quality  of  Population — The  Later  Incomers— 
Kispano  American,  Anglo-American,  and  Others — Settlers  around 
San  Francisco  Bay — San  Jose — The  Peninsula — San  Francisco — 
Across  the  Bay — Alameda  and  Contra  Costa  Valleys — Valleys  of  the 
San  Joaquin  and  Sacramento — Sutter's  Fort — Grants  and  Ranchos^- 
About  Carquines  Strait — Napa,  Sonoma,  and  Santa  Rosa  Valleys — 
San  Rafael,  Bodega,  and  the  Northern  Coast — Natural  Wealth  and 
Environment 1 



January,  1848. 

Situation  of  Sutter — His  Need  of  Lumber — Search  for  a  Mill  Site  in  the 
Mountains — Culuma — James  W.  Marshall — The  Building  of  a  Saw 
mill  Determined  upon — A  Party  Sets  Forth — Its  Personnel — Char 
acter  of  Marshall — The  Finding  of  Gold — What  Marshall  and  his 
Men  Thought  of  It — Marshall  Rides  to  New  Helvetia  and  Informs 
Sutter— The  Interview— Sutter  Visits  the  Mill— Attempt  to  Secure 
the  Indian  Title  to  the  Land 26 



February,  1848. 

Bennett  Goes  to  Monterey — Sees  Pfister  at  Benicia — 'There  is  What  will 
Beat  Coal!' — Bennett  Meets  Isaac  Humphrey  at  San  Francisco — Un 
successful  at  Monterey — Sutter's  Swiss  Teamster — The  Boy  Wimmer 
Tells  Him  of  the  Gold— The  Mother  Wimmer,  to  Prove  her  Boy  not  a 
Liar,  Shows  It— And  the  Teamster,  Who  is  Thirsty,  Shows  It  at  the 
Fort — Affairs  at  the  Mill  Proceed  as  Usual — Bigler's  Sunday  Medi 
tations — Gold  Found  at  Live  Oak  Bar — Bigler  Writes  his  Three 





Friends  the  Secret— Who  Unite  with  Them  Other  Three  to  Help 
Them  Keep  It — Three  Come  to  Coloma — Discovery  at  Mormon  Island 
—The  Mormon  Exit. . .  42 



March- August,  1848. 

The  People  Sceptical  at  First— Attitude  of  the  Press— The  Country 
Converted  by  a  Sight  of  the  Metal — The  Epidemic  at  San  Francisco 
— At  San  Jose,  Monterey,  and  down  the  Coast — The  Exodus — De 
sertion  of  Soldiers  and  Sailors — Abandonment  of  Business,  of  Farms, 
and  of  All  Kinds  of  Positions  and  Property 52 



March-December,  1848. 

Isaac  Humphrey  again — Bidwell  and  his  Bar — Reading  and  his  Indians 
on  Clear  Creek — Population  in  the  Mines — On  Feather  River  and 
the  Yuba — John  Sinclair  on  the  American  River — The  Irishman 
Yankee  Jim— Dr  Todd  in  Todd  Valley— Kelsey— Weber  on  Weber 
Creek — The  Stockton  Mining  Company — Murphy — Hangtown — On 
the  Stanislaus — Knight,  Wood,  Savage,  and  Heffernan — Party  from 
Oregon — On  the  Mokelumne  and  Cosumnes — The  Sonorans  on  the 
Tuolumne — Coronel  and  Party 67 



Variety  of  Social  Phases — Individuality  of  the  Year  1848 — Noticeable 
Absence  of  Bad  Characters  during  this  Year — Mining  Operations — 
Ignorance  of  the  Miners  of  Mining — Implements  and  Processes — 
Yield  in  the  Different  Districts — Price  of  Gold-dust — Prices  of  Mer 
chandise — A  New  Order  of  Things — Extension  of  Development — 
Affairs  at  Sutter's  Fort— Bibliography— Effect  on  Sutter  and  Marshall 
— Character  and  Career  of  These  Two  Men . .  82 




The  Real  Effects  Eternal— How  the  Intelligence  was  Carried  over  the 
Sierra — To  the  Hawaiian  Islands — British  Columbia — Oregon  and 
Washington — The  Tidings  in  Mexico — Mason's  Messenger  in  Wash- 



ington— California  Gold  at  the  War  Office — At  the  Philadelphia 
Mint — The  Newspaper  Press  upon  the  Subject — Bibliography — 
Greeley's  Prophecies — Industrial  Stimulation — Overland  and  Oceanic 
Routes — General  Effect  in  the  Eastern  States  and  Europe — Interest 
in  Asia,  South  America,  and  Australia 110 




Modern  Argonauts — Pacific  Mail  Steamship  Company — Establishment  of 
the  Mail  Line  from  New  York  via  Panama  to  Oregon — Sailing  of  the 
First  Steamers — San  Francisco  Made  the  Terminus — The  Panama 
Transit — The  First  Rush  of  Gold-seekers — Disappointments  at  Pan 
ama — Sufferings  on  the  Voyage — Arrivals  of  Notable  Men  by  the 
First  Steamship 126 



Organization  of  Parties — Brittle  Contracts  of  These  Associations — Missis 
sippi  River  Rendezvous — On  the  Trail — Overland  Routine — Along 
the  Platte— Through  the  South  Pass— Cholera— The  Different  Routes 
-Across  the  Desert — Trials  of  the  Pilgrims — Starvation,  Disease, 
and  Death — Passage  of  the  Sierra  Nevada — Relief  Parties  from 
California — Route  through  Mexico — Estimates  of  the  Numbers  of 
Arrivals — Bewilderment  of  the  Incomers — Regeneration  and  a  New 
Life 143 




Site  and  Surroundings — Rivals — Effect  of  the  Mines — Shipping — Influx 
of  Population — Physical  and  Commercial  Aspects — Business  Firms — 
Public  and  Private  Buildings — National  Localities — Hotels  and  Res 
taurants  —  Prices  Current  —  Property  Values  —  Auction  Sales — 
Wharves  and  Streets — Early  Errors — Historic  Fires — Engines  and 
Companies — Immigration  and  Speculation — Politics — The  Hounds — 
City  Government 164 




Ingathering  of  Nationalities — Peculiarities  of  Dress  and  Manners — Phys 
ical  and  Moral  Features — Levelling  of  Rank  and  Position — In  the 

viii  CONTENTS. 


Mines — Cholera — Hardsmps  and  Self-denials — A  Community  of  Men 
— Adulation  of  Woman — Arrival  and  Departure  of  Steamers — Sani 
tary  Condition  of  San  Francisco — Rats  and  Other  Vermin — The 
Drinking  Habit — Amusements — Gambling — Lotteries  and  Raffles — 
Bull  and  Bear  Fighting — The  Drama — Sunday  in  the  Mines — Sum 
mary 221 




The  Slavery  Question  before  Congress — Inaction  and  Delay — Military 
Rule  in  California — Mexican  Forms  of  Civil  and  Judicial  Govern 
ment  Maintained — Federal  Officials  in  California — -Governor  Mason 
— Pranks  of  T.  Butler  King — Governor  Riley — Legislative  Assembly 
— Constitutional  Convention  at  Monterey — Some  Biographies — Per- 
sonnel  of  the  Convention — Money  Matters — Adoption  of  the  Consti 
tution — Election  ...  251 




The  First  Legislature — Qrestioii  of  State  Capital — Meeting  of  the  Legis 
lature  at  San  Jose — Organization  and  Acts — Personnel  of  the  Body 
— State  Officers — Further  State  Capital  Schemes — California  in  Con 
gress — Impending  I3sues — Slavery  or  No  Slavery — Admission  into 
the  Union — California  Rejoices 308 




Extent  of  Gold  Region  in  1848-9— American  River  the  Centre — El  Do 
rado  County— South  Fork  and  Southward— Middle  Branch — Placer, 
Nevada,  Yuba,  Sierra,  Plumas,  Butte,  and  Shasta  Counties — Trinity 
and  Klamath— Gold  Bluff  Excitement,  1850-1— Del  Norte,  Hum- 
boldt,  and  Siskiyou — In  the  South — Amador,  Calaveras,  and  Tuol- 
umne — Table  Mountain  —  Mariposa,  Kern,  San  Bernardino  —  Los 
Angeles  and  San  Diego — Along  the  Ocean _ 351 




Physical  Formation  of  the  California  Valley— The  Three  Geologic  Belts 
— Physical  Aspect  of  the  Gold  Regions — Geologic  Formations — In- 



dications  that  Influence  the  Prospector — Origin  of  Rushes  and  Camps 
— Society  along  the  Foothills — Hut  and  Camp  Life — Sunday  in  the 
Mines — Catalogue  of  California  Mining  Rushes — Mariposa,  Kern, 
Ocean  Beach,  Nevada,  Gold  Lake,  Lost  Cabin,  Gold  Bluff,  Siskiyou, 
Sonora,  Australia,  Fraser  River,  Nevada,  Colorado,  and  the  Rest — 
Mining  Laws  and  Regulations — Mining  Tax — Discrimination  against 
Foreigners 381 




Primitive  Mining  Machinery — Improved  Means  for  Poor  Diggings — 
California  Inventions — Tom,  Sluice,  Fluming — Hydraulic  Mining — 
Ditches,  Shafts,  and  Tunnels— Quartz  Mining— The  First  Mills— Ex 
citement,  Failure,  and  Revival — Improved  Machinery  —  Coopera 
tion — Yield  —  Average  Gains — Cost  of  Gold — Evil  and  Beneficial 
Effects  of  Mining 409 




Mexican  Town-maKing — Mission,  Presidio,  and  Pueblo — The  Anglo- 
American  Method — Clearing  away  the  Wilderness — The  American 
Municipal  Idea — Necessities  Attending  Self-government — Home 
made  Laws  and  Justice — Arbitration  and  Litigation — Camp  and 
Town  Sites — Creation  of  Counties — Nomenclature — Rivers  and  Har 
bors — Industries  and  Progress 429 




The  Great  Interior — River  and  Plain — Sutterville  and  Sacramento— Plan 
of  Survey — The  Thrice  Simple  Swiss — Better  for  the  Country  than 
a  Better  Man — Healthy  and  Hearty  Competition — Development  of 
Sacramento  City — Marysville — Stockton — Placerville — Sonora — Ne 
vada — Grass  Valley — Benicia — Valle jo— Martinez — Oakland  and  Vi 
cinity — Northern  and  Southern  Cities 446 




Affairs  under  the  Hispano-Californians — Coming  of  the  Anglo-Americans 
— El  Dorado,  Placer,  Sacramento,  Yuba,  and  Other  Counties  North 
and  South — Their  Origin,  Industries,  Wealth,  and  Progress 481 






The  Colonization  System — Land  Grants  by  Spain  and  Mexico — Informal 
ities  of  Title— Treaty  Obligations  of  the  United  States— Effect  of  the 
Gold  Discovery — The  Squatters — Reports  of  Jones  and  Halleck — 
Discussions  in  Congress — Fremont,  Benton,  and  Gwin — The  Act  of 
1851 — The  Land  Commission — Progress  and  Statistics  of  Litigation — 
Principles — Floating  Grants — Surveys — Fraudulent  Claims — Speci 
men  Cases  —  Castillero — Fremont — Gomez — Limantour  —  Peralta — 
— Santillan — Sutter — Vallejo — Mission  Lands — Friars,  Neophytes, 
and  Church — Pico's  Sales — Archbishop's  Claim — Pueblo  Lands — The 
Case  of  San  Francisco — Statistics  of  1880 — More  of  Squatterism — 
Black  and  Jones — Attempts  to  Reopen  Litigation — General  Conclu 
sions — The  Act  of  1851  Oppressive  and  Ruinous — What  should  have 
been  Done 529 



Attractions  of  Spanish  America  to  Unprincipled  Men  of  the  United 
States — Filibustering  in  Texas — The  Morehead  Expedition  from 
California  to  Mexico — Failure — Charles  de  Pin  dray's  Efforts  and 
Death — Raoulx  de  Raousset-Boulbon's  Attempts  at  Destruction — 
Capture  of  Hermosillo  and  Return  to  San  Francisco — Trial  of  Del 
Valle — Raousset's  Death  at  Guaymas — Walker's  Operations — Re 
public  of  Lower  California — Walker  in  Sonora — Walker  in  Nicara 
gua — His  Execution  in  Honduras — Crabb,  the  Stockton  Lawyer ....  582 




An  Empty  Treasury — Temporary  State  Loan  Act — State  Debt — Licenses 
and  Taxation — Extravagance  and  Peculation — Alarming  Increase  of 
Debt — Bonds — State  Indebtedness  Illegal — Repudiation  Rejected — 
Thieving  Officials — Enormous  Payments  to  Steamship  Companies — 
Federal  Appropriations — Indian  Agents — Mint — Navy-yard — Fortifi 
cations — Coast  Survey — Land  Commission — Public  Lands — Home 
stead  Act— Educational  Interests— The  People  above  All 604 




Quality  of  our  Early  Rulers — Governor  Burnett — Governor  McDougal — 
Senatorial  Election — Sowing  Dragon's  Teeth — Democratic  Conven- 


tion— Senator  Gwin,  the  Almighty  Providence  of  California— Party 
Issues — Governor  Bigler — Broderick — White  vs  Black — Slavery  or 
Death  !  — Legislative  Proceedings — Talk  of  a  New  Constitution — 
Whigs,  Democrats,  and  Independents — Another  Legislature 643 




Warm  and  Wicked  Election — One  Party  tho  Same  aa  Another,  only 
Worse — Senatorial  Contest — Broderick's  Election  Bill — Bitter  Feuds 
— A  Two-edged  Convention — Bigler's  Administration — Rise  and  Fall 
of  the  Knowiiothing  Party — Gwin's  Sale  of  Patronage— Broderick  in 
Congress — He  is  Misrepresented  and  Maligned— Another  Election — 
Chivalry  and  Slavery — Broderick's  Death  Determined  on— The  Duel 
— Character  of  Broderick 678 




State  of  Society — Miners'  Courts — Crimes  and  Punishments — Criminal 
Class — The  Hounds — Berdue  and  Wildred — Organized  Ruffianism — 
Committees  of  Vigilance — The  Jenkins  Affair — Villanous  Law  Courts 
— James  Stuart — Political  and  Judicial  Corruption — James  King  of 
William — His  Assassination — Seizure,  Trial,  and  Execution  of  Crim 
inals — A  Vacillating  Governor — A  Bloody-minded  Judge — Attitude 
of  United  States  Officials — Success  of  the  San  Francisco  Vigilance 
Committee  under  Trying  Circumstances — Disbandment 740 




A  Period  of  Trials — Land  Titles — City  Limits — Mexican  Grants — Spu 
rious  Claims — Water  Lots — Fluctuations  of  Values — The  Van  Ness 
Ordinance — Villanous  Administration — A  New  Charter — Municipal 
Maladministration — Popular  Protests — Honest  and  Genial  Villains 
—  Increased  Taxation — Vigilance  Movements — Reforms — Another 
Charter — Real  Estate  Sales— The  Baptism  by  Fire  and  Blood — Ma 
terial  and  Social  Progress — Schools,  Churches,  and  Benevolent  Socie 
ties—The  Transformed  City 7£5 



JANUARY,  1848. 



ALTHOUGH  the  California  seaboard,  from  San  Diego 
to  San  Francisco  bays,  had  been  explored  by  Euro 
peans  for  three  hundred  years,  and  had  been  occu 
pied  by  missionary  and  military  bands,  with  a 
sprinkling  of  settlers,  for  three  quarters  of  a  century, 
the  great  valley  of  the  interior,  at  the  opening  of  the 
year  1848,  remained  practically  undisturbed  by  civili 

The  whole  of  Alta  California  comprises  a  seaboard 
strip  eight  hundred  miles  in  length  by  one  or  two 
hundred  in  width,  marked  off  from  the  western  earth's 
end  of  the  temperate  zone;  it  was  the  last  to  be  occu 
pied  by  civilized  man,  and,  to  say  the  least,  as  full  of 
fair  conditions  as  any  along  the  belt.  The  whole 
area  is  rimmed  on  either  side,  the  Coast  Range  roll 
ing  up  in  stony  waves  along  the  outer  edge,  and  for 

VOL.  VI.    1 


background  the  lofty  Sierra,  upheaved  in  crumpled 
folds  from  primeval  ocean.  The  intervening  space  is 
somewhere  overspread  with  hills  and  vales,  but  for 
the  most  part  comprises  an  oblong  plain,  the  Valley 
of  California,  the  northern  portion  being  called  the 
Sacramento  Valley,  and  the  southern  the  San  Joa- 
quin  Valley,  from  the  names  of  the  streams  that 
water  the  respective  parts.  The  prospect  thus  pre 
sented  opens  toward  the  setting  sun. 

Humanity  here  is  varied.  There  is  already  round 
San  Francisco  Bay  raw  material  enough  of  divers 
types  to  develop  a  new  race,  howsoever  inferior  the 
quality  might  be.  It  is  a  kind  of  refuse  lot,  blown 
in  partly  from  the  ocean,  and  in  part  having  perco 
lated  through  the  mountains;  yet  there  is  amidst  the 
chaff  good  seed  that  time  and  events  might  winnow. 
But  time  and  events  are  destined  here  to  be  employed 
for  higher  purpose,  in  the  fashioning  of  nobler  metal. 

Of  the  condition  of  the  aborigines  I  have  spoken 
elsewhere,  and  shall  presently  speak  again.  So  far 
the  withering  influence  of  a  strange  civilization  upon 
the  true  proprietors  of  the  soil  had  emanated  from 
Mexican  incomers.  Now  a  stronger  phase  of  it  is 
appearing  in  another  influx,  which  is  to  overwhelm 
both  of  the  existing  races,  and  which,  like  the  original 
invasion  of  Mexico,  of  America,  is  to  consist  of  a  fair- 
hued  people  from  toward  the  rising  sun.  They  come 
not  as  their  predecessors  came,  slowly,  in  the  shadow 
of  the  cross,  or  aggressively,  with  sword  and  firelock. 
Quietly,  with  deferential  air,  they  drop  in  asking 
hospitality;  first  as  way-worn  stragglers  from  trap 
ping  expeditions,  or  as  deserting  sailors  from  vessels 
prowling  along  the  coast  in  quest  of  trade  and  secrets. 
Then  compact  bands  of  restless  frontier  settlers 
slip  over  the  border,  followed  by  the  firmer  tread  of 
determined  pioneers,  who  wait  /or  strength  and 
opportunity.  Not  being  as  yet  formally  ceded,  the 
land  remains  under  a  mingled  military-civil  govern 
ment,  wherein  Hispano-Californians  still  control  local 


management  in  the  south,  while   in  the  north  men 
from  the  United  States  predominate* 

These  later  arrivals  are  already  nearly  equal  numeri 
cally  to  the  former,  numbering  somewhat  over  6,000, 
while  the  Hispano-Californians  may  be  placed  at 
1,000  more.  The  ex-neophyte  natives  in  and  about 
the  ranches  and  towns  are  estimated  at  from  3,000 
to  4,000,  with  twice  as  many  among  the  gentile  tribes. 
The  new  element,  classed  as  foreign  before  the  con 
quest  of  1846,  had  from  150  in  1830  grown  slowly  till 
1845,  after  which  it  took  a  bound,  assisted  by  over 
2,000  who  came  as  soldiers  in  the  regular  and  volunteer 
corps,  not  including  the  naval  muster-rolls.  These 
troops  served  to  check  another  sudden  influx  contem 
plated  by  the  migrating  Mormons,  whose  economic 
value  as  colonists  cannot  be  questioned,  in  view  of 
their  honesty  and  thrift.  An  advance  column  of  about 
200  had  come  in  1846,  followed  by  the  Mormon  battal 
ion  in  the  United  States  service,  350  strong,  of  which 
a  portion  remained.  The  first  steady  stream  of  immi 
grants  is  composed  of  stalwart,  restless  backwoods 
men  from  the  western  frontier  of  the  United  States; 
self-reliant,  and  of  ready  resource  in  building  homes, 
even  if  less  enterprising  and  broadly  utilitarian  than 
those  who  followed  them  from  the  eastern  states; 
the  latter  full  of  latent  vivacity;  of  strong  intellect, 
here  quickening  under  electric  air  and  new  environ 
ment;  high-strung,  attenuated,  grave,  shrewd,  and 
practical,  and  with  impressive  positiveness. 

By  the  side  of  the  Americanized  Anglo-Saxon, 
elevated  by  vitalizing  freedom  of  thought  and  inter 
course  with  nature,  we  find  the  English  representa 
tive,  burly  of  mind  and  body,  full  of  animal  energy, 
marked  by  aggressive  stubbornness,  tinctured  with 
brusqueness  and  conceit.  More  sympathetic  and  self- 
adaptive  than  the  arrogant  and  prejudiced  English 
man,  or  the  coldly  calculating  Scot,  is  the  omnipresent, 
quick-witted  Celt,  and  the  easy-going,  plodding  Ger 
man,  with  his  love  of  knowledge  and  deep  solidity  of 


mind.  Intermediate  between  these  races  and  the 
native  Californian  stands  the  pure-blooded  Spaniard, 
wrapped  in  the  reflection  of  ancestral  preeminence, 
and  using  his  superior  excellence  as  a  means  to  affirm 
his  foothold  among  humbler  race  connections.  An 
approximate  affinity  of  blood  and  language  here  paves 
the  way  for  the  imaginative  though  superficial  French 
man  and  Italian,  no  less  polite  than  insincere,  yet 
cheerful  and  aBsthetic.  A  few  Hawaiian  Islanders 
have  been  brought  over,  and  are  tolerated  until 
prouder  people  press  them  back  and  under. 

Even  now  events  are  giving  a  decisive  predomi 
nance  to  the  lately  inflowing  migration,  by  reason  of 
the  energy  displayed  in  the  rapid  extension  of  indus 
trial  arts,  notably  agriculture,  with  improved  methods 
and  machinery,  and  growing  traffic  with  such  standard- 
bearers  of  civilization  as  the  public  press  and  a  steam 
boat.  So  far  this  influx  has  confined  itself  to  the 
central  part  of  the  state,  round  San  Francisco  Bay  and 
northward,  because  the  gateway  for  the  immigration 
across  the  plains  opens  into  this  section,  which  more 
over  presents  equal  if  not  superior  agricultural  features, 
and  greater  commercial  prospects.  The  occupation  of 
the  south  by  a  different  race  serves  naturally  to  point 
out  and  affirm  the  limits. 

San  Jose,  founded  as  a  pueblo  within  the  first  dec 
ade  of  Spanish  occupation,  and  now  grown  into  a 
respectable  town  of  about  700  inhabitants,  is  the 
most  prominent  of  the  northern  settlements  wherein 
the  Hispano-Californian  element  still  predominates. 
Notwithstanding  the  incipient  greatness  of  the  city  at 
the  Gate,  San  Jose  holds  high  pretensions  as  a  central 
inland  town,  on  the  border  line  between  the  settled 
south  and  the  growing  north,  with  aspirations  to  sup 
plant  Monterey  as  the  capital.  This  accounts  in  a 
measure  for  the  large  inflowing  of  foreigners,  who  have 
lately  acquired  sufficient  influence  to  elect  the  alcalde 
from  among  themselves,  the  present  incumbent  being 
James  W.  Weeks.  The  fertile  valley  around  counts 




among  its  numerous  farmers  several  of  them,  notably 
the  Scotch  sailor,  John  Gilroy,1  who  in  1814  became 
the  first  foreigner  permanently  to  settle  in  California, 
and  Thomas  W.  Doak,  who  arrived  two  years  later, 
the  first  American  settler.  North  of  San  Jose  and 
the  adjoining  Santa  Clara  mission,2  where  Padre  Real 
holds  out  manfully  against  claimants,  are  several  set 
tlers  clustering  round  the  present  Alviscx3  Westward 
Rafael  Soto  has  established  a  landing  at  San  Fran- 
cisquito  Creek,  and  Whisman  has  located  himself  a 
dozen  miles  below.4 

Along  the  eastern  slope  of  the  peninsula  leads  a 
well-worn  road  past  scattered  ranchos,  among  which 
are  those  of  John  Cooper  on  San  Mateo  Creek,  and 
John  Coppinger  on  Canada  de  Raimundo;  and  near 
by  are  Dennis  Martin  and  Charles  Brown,  the  latter 
having  just  erected  a  saw-mill.5 

San  Francisco,  at  the  end  of  the  peninsula,  however 
ill-favored  the  site  in  some  respects,  seems  topographi 
cally  marked  for  greatness,  rising  on  a  series  of  hills, 
with  a  great  harbor  on  one  side,  a  great  ocean  on  the 
other,  and  mighty  waters  ever  passing  by  to  the  outlet 
of  the  wide-spread  river  system  of  the  country.  It  is 
already  in  many  respects  the  most  thriving  town  in 
California,  the  prospective  metropolis  of  the  coast,  with 
200  buildings  and  800  inhabitants,  governed  by  Alcalde 

1  The  town  bearing  his  name,  in  the  southern  part  of  the  valley,  is  situated 
on  his  former  rancho.     Other  early  settlers  were  Mat.  Fellora,  Harry  Bee, 
John  Burton,  J.  A,  Forbes,  J.  W.  Weeks,  and  Wm  Gulnac,  who  in  1842 
joined  Weber  in  erecting  a  flour-mill. 

2  Brannan  &  Co.  had  a  tannery  at  this  place. 

5  Including  the  families  of  Alviso,  Berreyesa,  Valencia,  John  Martin,  and 
Leo  Norris,  the  latter  an  American,  on  Cherro  rancho. 

*Near  the  present  Mountain  View.  J.  W.  Whisman  was  in  1848  joined 
by  I.  Whisman.  J.  Coppinger  lived  for  a  time  on  Soto's  rancho,  married  to 
his  daughter.  S.  Robles  had  bought  Santa  Rita  rancho  from  J.  Pena. 

5  Called  Mountain  Home.  The  last  two  had  settled  near  the  present 
Woods!  de.  G.  F.  Wyman  and  James  Peace  were  also  in  the  same  vicinity , 
the  latter  as  lumberer.  The  leading  grants  were  Las  Pulgas  of  Luis  Argiiello, 
35, 000 acres;  San  Gregorio  of  A.  Buelna,  18,000 acres;  BuriBuriof  I.  Sanchez, 
14,600  acres;  Canada  de  Raimundo  of  J.  Coppinger,  12,500  acres;  Canada  del 
Corte  de  Madera  of  M.  Martinez,  13,000  acres.  Other  grants,  ranging  from 
9,000  to  4,000  acres,  were  San  Pedro,  Corral  de  Tierra,  Felix,  Miramontes, 
Canada  Verde,  San  Antonio,  Butano,  and  Punta  del  Afio  Nuevo,  following 


George  Hyde  and  a  sapient  council.  The  population 
is  chiefly  composed  of  enterprising  Americans,  sturdy 
pioneers,  with  a  due  admixture  of  backwoodsmen 
and  seafarers,  numerous  artisans,  and  a  sprinkling  of 
traders  and  professional  men — all  stanch  townsmen, 
figuring  for  beach  lots  at  prices  ranging  as  high  as 
$600,  and  for  local  offices.  There  are  rival  districts 
struggling  for  supremacy,  and  two  zealous  weekly 

Less  imposing  are  the  immediate  surroundings; 
for  the  town  spreads  out  in  a  straggling  crescent 
along  the  slope  of  the  Clay-street  hill,  bordered  by 
the  converging  inclines  of  Broadway  and  California 
streets  on  the  north  and  south  respectively.  A  thin 
coating  of  grass  and  melancholy  shrubs  covers  the 
sandy  surface  between  and  around,  with  here  and 
there  patches  of  dwarfed  oaks,  old  and  decrepit,  bend 
ing  before  the  sweeping  west  wind.  The  monotony 
incident  to  Spanish  and  Mexican  towns,  however, 
with  their  low  and  bare  adobe  houses  and  sluggish 
population,  is  here  relieved  by  the  large  proportion  of 
compact  wooden  buildings  in  northern  European  style,6 
and  the  greater  activity  of  the  dwellers.  The  beach, 
hollowed  by  the  shallow  Yerba  Buena  Cove,  on  which 
fronts  the  present  Montgomery  street,  presents  quite 
an  animated  scene  for  these  sleepy  shores,  with  its 
bales  of  merchandise  strewn  about,  and  piled-up  boxes 
and  barrels,  its  bustling  or  lounging  frequenters,  and 
its  three  projecting  wharves;7  while  a  short  distance 
off  lie  scattered  a  few  craft,  including  one  or  two 
ocean-going  vessels.  Farther  away,  fringed  by  the 
fading  hills  of  Contra  Costa,  rises  the  isle  of  Yerba 
Buena,  for  which  some  wild  goats  shortly  provide 
the  new  name  of  Goat  Island-  On  its  eastern  side  is  a 
half-ruined  rancheria,  still  braving  the  encroachments 
of  time  and  culture. 

"There  were  160  frame  buildings  and  only  35  adobe  houses,  although  the 
latter  were  more  conspicuous  by  their  length  and  brightness. 
7At  California,  Clay,  and  'Broadway  streets. 


il    ii    i!   i!   II   li   ij 

..Jl i  1 Jl 1 1 il lL_JL 

f  Irttl 


8       ^L  .    N  :  F      &     AN      C       1        SO      C 



In  the  rear  of  the  town,  which  extends  only  be 
tween  California  and  Vallejo  streets  to  Powell  on  the 
west,  from  the  direction  of  the  Lone  Mountain  and 
beyond,  comes  a  spur  of  the  Coast  Range,  tipped  by 
the  Papas  Peaks.  To  either  side  diverges  a  trail,  one 
toward  the  inlet  of  the  bay,  where  is  the  presidio 
enclosure,  with  its  low  adobe  buildings,  and  to  which 
the  new  American  occupants  have  added  frame  houses, 
and  earthworks  with  ordnance  superior  to  the  blatant 
muzzles  of  yore.  Two  miles  to  the  south,  beyond  the 
sand  hills,  lies  Mission  Dolores,  its  dilapidated  walls 
marked  by  darkened  tile  roofs,  scantily  relieved  by 
clumps  of  trees  and  shrubs.  The  cheerless  stone 
fences  now  enclose  winter's  verdure,  and  beyond  the 
eddying  creek,  which  flows  through  the  adjoining 
fields,  the  sandy  waste  expands  into  inviting  pasture, 
partly  covered  by  the  Rincon  farm  and  government 

The  opposite  shores  of  the  bay  present  a  most  beau 
tiful  park-like  expanse,  the  native  lawn,  brilliant  with 
flowers,  and  dotted  by  eastward-bending  oaks,  watered 
by  the  creeks  of  Alameda,  San  Lorenzo,  San  Leandro, 
and  their  tributaries,  and  enclosed  by  the  spurs  of  the 
Diablo  mountains.  It  had  early  attracted  settlers, 
whose  grants  now  cover  the  entire  ground.  The  first 
to  occupy  there  was  the  Mission  San  Jose,  famed  for 
its  orchards  and  vineyards,9  and  now  counting  among 
its  tenants  and  settlers  James  F.  Reed,  Perry  Mor 
rison,  Earl  Marshall,  and  John  M.  Horner;10  Below 
are  the  ranches  of  Agua  Caliente  and  Los  Tularcitos ; 
and  above,  Potrero  de  los  Cerritos;11  while  behind, 
among  encircling  hills,  is  the  valley  of  San  Jose,  the 
pathway  to  the  Sacramento,  and  through  which  runs 

8  Padre  P.  Santillan,  who  afterward  became  conspicuous  as  a  claimant  to 
the  mission  ground,  was  in  charge  at  Dolores.     The  Raucho  Puuta  de  Lobos 
of  B.  Diaz  extended  to  the  north-west. 

9  In  charge  of  Padre  Real.     The  claim  of  Alvarado  and  Pico  to  the  soil  was 
later  rejected. 

10  The  latter  a  Mormon,  living  with  his  wife  at  the  present  Washington 
Corners,  and  subsequently  prominent. 

11  The  former  two  square  leagues  in  extent,  and  transferred  by  A.  Sufiol  to 
F.  Higueraj  the  latter  three  leagues,  and  held  by  A.  Alviso  and  T.  Pacheco. 


the  upper  Alameda.  Here  lives  the  venturesome 
English  sailor,  Robert  Livermore,  by  whose  name  the 
nook  is  becoming  known,  and  whose  rapidly  increasing 
possessions  embrace  stock-ranges,  wheat-fields,  vine 
yards,  and  orchards,  with  even  a  rude  grist-mill.12  Ad 
joining  him  are  the  ranchos  Valle  de  San  Jose  of 
J.  and  A.  Bernal,  and  Sunol  and  San  Ramon  of  J.  M. 
Amador,  also  known  by  his  name.  Northward,  along 
the  bay,  lies  the  Rancho  Arroyo  de  la  Alameda  of 
Jose  Jesus  Vallejo;  the  San  Lorenzo  of  G.  Castro 
and  F.  Soto;  the  San  Leandro  of  J.  J.  Estudillo;  the 
Sobrante  of  J.  I.  Castro;  and  in  the  hills  and  along 
the  shore,  covering  the  present  Oakland  and  Alameda, 
the  San  Antonio  of  Luis  M.  Peralta  and  his  sons.13 

Similar  to  the  Alameda  Valley,  and  formed  by  the 
rear  of  the  same  range,  enclosing  the  towering  Monte 
del  Diablo,  lies  the  vale  of  Contra  Costa,  watered  by 
several  creeks,  among  them  the  San  Pablo  and  San 
Ramon,  or  Walnut,  and  extending  into  the  marshes 
of  the  San  Joaquin.  Here  also  the  most  desirable 
tracts  are  covered  by  grants,  notably  the  San  Pablo 
tract  of  F.  Castro;  El  Pinole  of  Ignacio  Martinez, 
with  vineyards  and  orchards;  the  Acalanes  of  C. 
Valencia,  on  which  are  now  settled  Elam  Brown, 
justice  of  the  peace,  and  Nat.  Jones;14  the  Palos 
Colorados  of  J.  Moraga;  the  Monte  del  Diablo  of  S. 
Pacheco;  the  Medanos  belonging  to  the  Mesa  fam 
ily;  and  the  Meganos  of  Dr  John  Marsh,  the  said 
doctor  being  a  kind  of  crank  from  Harvard  college, 

12  His  neighbor  on  Rancho  Los  Pozitos,  of  two  square  leagues,  was  Jose" 
Noriega;  and  west  and  south  in  the  valley  extended  Rancho  Valle  de  San 
Jose,  48,000  acres,  Santa  Rita,  9,000  acres,  belonging  to  J.  D.  Pacheco,  the 
San  Ramon  rancho  of  Amador,  four  square  leagues,  and  Canada  de  los  Va- 
queros  of  Livermore.     Both  Colton,  Three  Years,  266,  and  Taylor,  El  Dorado, 
i.  73,  refer  to  the  spot  as  Livermore  Pass,  leading  from  San  Jos6  town  to  the 
valley  of  the  Sacramento. 

13  D.  Peralta  received  the  Berkeley  part,  V.  the  Oakland,  M.  the  East  Oak 
land  and  Alameda,  and  I.  the  south-east.     The  grant  covered  five  leagues. 
The  extent  of  the  Alameda,  San  Lorenzo,  and  San  Leandro  grants  was  in 
square  leagues  respectively  about  four,  seven,  and  one;  Sobrante  was  eleven 

uBy  purchase  in  1847,  the  latter  owning  one  tenth  of  the  three-quarter 


who  settled  here  in  1837,15  in  an  adobe  hut,  and 
achieved  distinction  as  a  misanthrope  and  miser, 
sympathetic  with  the  spirit  at  whose  mountain's  feet 
he  crouched. 

The  upper  part  of  the  San  Joaquin  Valley  had  so 
far  been  shunned  by  fixed  settlers,  owing  to  Indian 
hostility  toward  the  Spanish  race.  With  others  the 
aborigines  agreed  better;  and  gaining  their  favor 
through  the  mediation  of  the  influential  Sutter,  the 
German  Charles  M.  Weber  had  located  himself  on 
French  Camp  rancho,  which  he  sought  to  develop  by 
introducing  colonists.  In  this  he  had  so  far  met  with 
little  success;  but  his  farm  prospering,  arid  his  em 
ployes  increasing,  he  laid  out  the  town  of  Tuleburg, 
soon  to  rise  into  prominence  under  the  new  name  of 
Stockton.16  He  foresaw  the  importance  of  the  place 
as  a  station  on  the  road  to  the  Sacramento,  and  as  the 
gateway  to  the  San  Joaquin,  on  which  a  settlement 
had  been  formed  in  1846,  as  far  up  as  the  Stanislaus, 
by  a  party  of  Mormons.  On  the  north  bank  of  this 
tributary,  a  mile  and  a  half  from  the  San  Joaquin,  the 
migratory  saints  founded  New  Hope,  or  Stanislaus, 
which  in  April  1847  boasted  ten  or  twelve  colonists 
and  several  houses.  Shortly  afterward  a  summons 

15  He  bought  it  from  J.  Noriega,  and  called  it  the  Pulpunes;  extent,  three 
leagues  by  four.     The  San  Pablo  and  Piuole  covered  four  leagues  each,  the 
Palos  Colorados  three  leagues,  the  Monte  del  Diablo,  on  which  Pacheco  had 
some  5,000  head  of  cattle,  four  leagues.     The  aggressive  Indians  had  disturbed 
several  settlers,  killing  F.  Briones,  driving  away  Wm  Welch,  who  settled  in 
1832,  and  the  Romero  brothers.     Brown  settled  in  1847,  and  began  to  ship 
lumber  to  San  Francisco.     There  were  also  the  grants  of  Las  Juntas  of  Wm 
Welch,  three  square  leagues;   Arroyo  de  las  Nueces  of  J.  S.  Pacheco  and 
Canada  del  Hambre  of  T.  Soto,  the  two  latter  two  square  leagues  each. 

16  Among  the  residents  were  B.  K.  Thompson,  Eli  Randall,  Jos.  Buzzell, 
Andrew  Baker,  James  Sirey,  H.  F.  Fanning,  George  Frazer,  W.  H.  Fairchild, 
James  McKee,  Pyle,  and  many  Mexicans  and  servants  of  Weber.     See  fur 
ther  in  Tinkham's  Hist.  Stockton;  San  Joaquin  Co.  Hist.;  Gal.  Star,  May  13, 
1848,  etc.     Taylor  reports  two  log  cabins  on  the  site  in  1847,  those  of  Buzzell 
and  Sirey.     Nic.  Gann's  wife,  while  halting  in  Oct.  1847,  gave  birth  to  a  son, 
William.     The  name  French  Camp  came  from  the  trappers  who  frequently 
camped  here.     T.  Lindsay,  while  in  charge  in  1845,  was  killed  by  Indian 
raiders.    The  war  of  1847  had  caused  an  exodus  of  proposed  settlers. 


from  Salt  Lake  came  to  assist  the  floods  in  breaking 
up  the  colony.17 

North  of  Stockton  Dr  J.  C.  Isbel  settled  on  the 
Calaveras,  and  Turner  Elder  on  the  Mokelumne, 
together  with  Smith  and  Edward  Robinson.18  The 
latter,  on  Dry  Creek  tributary,  has  for  a  neighbor 
Thomas  Rhoads,  three  of  whose  daughters  married  T. 
Elder,  William  Daylor  an  English  sailor,  and  Jared 
Sheldon.  The  last  two  occupy  their  grants  on  the 
north  bank  of  the  Cosumnes,  well  stocked,  and  sup 
porting  a  grist-mill.  Along  the  south  bank  extend 
the  grants  of  Hartnell  and  San  '  Jon '  de  los  Moque- 
lumnes,  occupied  by  Martin  Murphy,  Jr,  and  Anas- 
tasio  Chaboila.  South  of  them  lies  the  Rancho 
Arroyo  Seco  of  T,  Yorba,  on  Dry  Creek,  where 
William  Hicks  holds  a  stock-range.19 

The  radiating  point  for  all  these  settlements  of  the 
Great  Valley,  south  and  north,  is  Sutter's  Fort, 
founded  as  its  first  settlement,  in  1839,  by  the  enter 
prising  Swiss,  John  A.  Sutter.  It  stands  on  a  small 
hill,  skirted  by  a  creek  which  runs  into  the  American 
River  near  its  junction  with  the  Sacramento,  and 
overlooking  a  vast  extent  of  ditch-enclosed  fields  and 
park  stock-ranges,  broken  by  groves  and  belts  of  tim 
ber.  At  this  time  and  for  three  months  to  come 
there  is  no  sign  of  town  or  "habitation  around  what  is 
now  Sacramento,  except  this  fortress,  and  one  old 
adobe,  called  the  hospital,  east  of  the  fort.  A  garden 

17  Stout,  the  leader,  had  given  dissatisfaction.     Buckland,  the  last  to  leave, 
moved  to  Stockton.     The  place  is  also  called  Stanislaus  City.     Bigler,  Diary, 
MS.,  48-9,  speaks  of  a  Mormon  settlement  on  the  Merced,  meaning  the  above. 

18  The  former  on  Dry  Creek,  near  the  present  Liberty,  which  he  transferred 
to  Robinson,  married  to  his  aunt,  and  removed  to  the  Mokelumne,  where 
twins  were  born  in  November  1847;  he  then  proceeded  to  Daylor's.     Thomas 
Pyle  settled  near  Lockeford,  but  transferred  his  place  to  Smith. 

19  The  Chaboila,  Hartnell,  Sheldon-Day  lor,  and  Yorba  grants  were  8,  6, 
5,  and  11  leagues  in  extent,  respectively.     The  claims  of  E.  Rufus  and  E. 
Pratt,  north  of  the  Cosumnes,  failed  to  be  condoned.  Cat.  Star,  Oct.  23,  1847, 
alludes  to  the  flouring  mill  on  Sheldon's  rancho.  See  Suiter's  Pers.  Rem. ,  MS., 
162,  in  which  Taylor  arid  Chamberlain  are  said  to  live  on  the  Cosumnes.     In 
the  San  Joaquin  district  were  three  eleven-league  and  one  eight-league  grants 
claimed  by  Jos6  Castro,  John  Rowland,  B.  S.  Lippincott,  and  A.  B.  Thompson, 
all  rejected  except  the  last. 


of  eight  or  ten  acres  was  attached  to  the  fort,  laid 
out  with  taste  arid  skill,  where  flourished  all  kinds  of 
vegetables,  grapes,  apples,  peaches,  pears,  olives,  figs, 
and  almonds.  Horses,  cattle,  and  sheep  cover  the 
surrounding  plains;  boats  lie  at  the  erabarcadero. 

The  fort  is  a  parallelogram  of  adobe  walls,  500  feet 
long  by  150  in  breadth,  with  loop-holes  and  bastions 
at  the  angles,  mounted  with  a  dozen  cannon  that 
sweep  the  curtains.  Within  is  a  collection  of  gran 
aries  and  warehouses,  shops  and  stores,  dwellings 
and  outhouses,  extending  near  and  along  the  walls 
round  the  central  building  occupied  by  the  Swiss 
potentate,  who  holds  sway  as  patriarch  and  priest, 
judge  and  father.  The  interior  of  the  houses  is  rough, 
with  rafters  and  unpanelled  walls,  with  benches  and 
deal  tables,  the  exception  being  the  audience-room 
and  private  apartments  of  the  owner,  who  has  ob 
tained  from  the  Russians  a  clumsy  set  of  California 
laurel  furniture.20  In  front  of  the  main  building,  on 
the  small  square,  is  a  brass  gun,  guarded  by  the 
sentinel,  whose  measured  tramp,  lost  in  the  hum  of 
day,  marks  the  stillness  of  the  night,  and  stops  alone 
beneath  the  belfry-post  to  chime  the  passing  hour. 

Throughout  the  day  the  enclosure  presents  an 
animated  scene  of  work  and  trafficking,  by  bustling 
laborers,  diligent  mechanics,  and  eager  traders,  all  to 
the  chorus  clang  of  the  smithy  and  reverberating 
strokes  of  the  carpenters.  Horsemen  dash  to  and  fro 
at  the  bidding  of  duty  and  pleasure,  and  an  occasional 
wagon  creaks  along  upon  the  gravelly  road-bed,  sure 
to  pause  for  recuperating  purposes  before  the  trad 
ing  store,21  where  confused  voices  mingle  with  laugh 
ter  and  the  sometimes  discordant  strains  of  drunken 

20  The  first  made  in  the  country,  he  says,  and  strikingly  superior  to  the 
crude  furniture  of  the  Calif  ornians,  with  rawhide  and  bullock -head  chairs  and 
bed -stretchers.  Suiter's  Pers.  JRem.,  MS.,  164,  et  seq.     Bryant  describes  the 
dining-room  as  having  merely  benches  and  deal  table,  yet  displaying  silver 
spoons  and  China  bowls,  the  latter  serving  for  dishes  as  well  as  cups.    What  I 
Saw,  269-70. 

21  One  kept  by  Smith  and  Brannan.     Prices  at  this  time  were  $1  a  foot  for 
horse-shoeing,  $1  a  bushel  for  wheat,  peas  $1.50,  unbolted  flour  $8  a  100  U>s. 


singers.  Such  is  the  capital  of  the  vast  interior  valley, 
pregnant  with  approaching  importance.  In  Decem 
ber  1847  Sutter  reported  a  white  population  of  289 
in  the  district,  with  16  half-breeds,  Hawaiians,  and 
negroes,  479  tame  Indians,  and  a  large  number  of 
gentiles,  estimated  with  not  very  great  precision  at 
21,873  for  the  valley,  including  the  region  above  the 
Buttes.22  There  are  60  houses  in  or  near  the  fort, 
and  six  mills  and  one  tannery  in  the  district;  14,000 
fanegas  of  wheat  were  raised  during  the  season,  and 
40,000  expected  during  the  following  year,  besides 
other  crops.  Sutter  owns  12,000  cattle,  2,000  horses 
and  mules,  from  10,000  to  15,000  sheep,  and  1,000 
hogs.23  John  Sinclair  figures  as  alcalde,  and  George 
McKinstry  as  sheriff. 

The  greater  portion  of  the  people  round  the  fort 
depend  upon  Sutter  as  permanent  or  temporary  em 
ploy  ^s,  the  latter  embracing  immigrants  preparing  to 
settle,  and  Mormons  intent  on  presently  proceeding 
to  Great  Salt  Lake.  As  a  class  they  present  a  hardy, 
backwoods  type  of  rough  exterior,  relieved  here  and 
there  by  bits  of  Hispano-Californian  attire,  in  bright 
sashes,  wide  sombreros,  and  jingling  spurs.  The  na 
tives  appear  probably  to  better  advantage  here  than 
elsewhere  in  California,  in  the  body  of  half  a  hundred 
well-clothed  soldiers  trained  by  Sutter,  and  among 
his  staff  of  steady  servants  and  helpers,  who  have  ac 
quired  both  skill  and  neatness.  A  horde  of  subdued 
savages,  engaged  as  herders,  tillers,  and  laborers,  are 
conspicuous  by  their  half-naked,  swarthy  bodies;  and 
others  may  be  seen  moving  about,  bent  on  gossip  or 
trade,  stalking  along,  shrouded  in  the  all-shielding 
blanket,  which  the  winter  chill  has  obliged  them  to 
put  on.  Head  and  neck,  however,  bear  evidence  to 
their  love  of  finery,  in  gaudy  kerchiefs,  strings  of  beads, 
and  other  ornaments. 

32  McKinstry  Pap.,  MS.,  28. 

28  There  were  30  ploughs  in  operation.  Suttees  Pers.  Bern.,  MS.,  43.  The 
version  reproduced  in  Sac.  Co.  Hist.,  31,  differs  somewhat. 


The  fort  is  evidently  reserved  for  a  manor-seat,  de 
spite  its  bustle;  for  early  in  1846  Sutter  had  laid 
out  the  town  of  Sutterville,  three  miles  below  on  the 
Sacramento.  This  has  now  several  houses,24  having 
received  a  great  impulse  from  the  location  there,  in 
1847,  of  two  companies  of  troops  under  Major  Kings- 
bury.  It  shares  in  the  traffic  regularly  maintained 
with  San  Francisco  by  means  of  a  twenty-ton  sloop, 
the  Amelia,  belonging  to  Sutter  and  manned  by  half 
a  dozen  savages.  It  is  supported  during  the  busy 
season  by. two  other  vessels,  which  make  trips  far  up 
the  Sacramento  and  San  Joaquin.  The  ferry  at  the 
fort  landing  is  merely  a  canoe  handled  by  an  Indian, 
but  a  large  boat  is  a-building.25 

Six  miles  up  the  American  River,  so  called  by  Sut 
ter  as  the  pathway  for  American  immigration,  the 
Mormons  are  constructing  a  flour-mill  for  him,26  and 
another  party  are  in  like  manner  engaged  on  a  saw 
mill  building  and  race  at  Coloma  Valley,  forty  miles 
above,  on  the  south  fork.  Opposite  Sutter's  Fort,  on 
the  north  bank  of  the  American,  John  Sinclair,  the 
alcalde,  holds  the  large  El  Paso  rancho,27  and  above 
him  stretches  the  San  Juan  rancho  of  Joel  P.  Ded- 
mond,  facing  the  Leidesdorff  grant  on  the  southern 
bank.28  There  is  more  land  than  men;  instead  of 
100  acres,  the  neighbors  do  not  regard  100,000  acres 
as  out  of  the  way.  Sutter's  confirmed  grant  of  eleven 
leagues  in  due  time  is  scattered  in  different  direc 
tions,  owing  to  documentary  and  other  irregularities. 
A  portion  is  made  to  cover  Hock  Farm  on  Feather 

24  Sutter  built  the  first  house,  Hadel  and  Zins  followed  the  example,  Zins' 
being  the  first  real  brick  building  erected  in  the  country.     Morse,  Hist.  Sac., 
places  the  founding  in  1844. 

25  As  well  as  one  for  Montezuma.  Col.  Star,  Oct.  23,  1847;  Gregson's  Stat., 
MS.,  7.. 

26  With  four  pairs  of  stones,  which  was  fast  approaching  completion.     A 
dam  had  been  constructed,  with  a  four-mile  race.     Description  and  progress 
in  Id.;  Bights  Diary,  MS.,  56-7;  Sutter's  Pers.  Rem.,  MS.,  159.     Brighton 
has  now  risen  on  the  site. 

27  Of  some  44^000  acres,  chiefly  for  his  Hawaiian  patron,  E.  Grimes. 

28  Of  35,500  acres;  Dedmond's  was  20,000.     Leidesdorff  had  erected  a  house 
in  1846,  at  the  present  Routier's. 


River,29  his  chief  stock-range,  and  also  embracing  fine 
plantations.30  On  the  east  side  of  this  region  lies  the 
tract  of  Nicolaus  Altgeier,31  and  along  the  north  bank 
of  Bear  River,  Sebastian  Keyser  and  the  family  of 
William  Johnson  have  located  themselves;32  oppo 
site  are  two  Frenchmen,  Theodore  Sicard  and  Claude 
Chanon.  The  south  bank  of  the  Yuba  is  occupied 
by  Michael  C.  Nye,  John  Smith,  and  George  Pat 
terson.33  Facing  them,  along  Feather  River,  Theo 
dore  Cordua  had  settled  in  1842,  and  established  a 
trading  post,  owning  some  12,000  head  of  stock.3* 
Charles  Roether  had  in  1845  located  himself  on  Hon- 
cut  Creek,  and  near  him  are  now  Edward  A.  Farwell 
and  Thomas  Fallon.35  The  lands  of  Samuel  Neal  and 
David  Dutton  are  on  Butte  Creek;  William  North- 
grave's  place  is  on  Little  Butte;  W.  Dickey,  Sanders, 
and  Yates  had  in  1845  taken  up  the  tract  on  Chico 
Creek  which  John  Bidwell  is  at  this  time  entering 
upon.36  Peter  Lassen,  the  famous  Danish  trapper,  had 
settled  on  Deer  Creek,  and  erected  a  mill  and  smithy,37 
granting  a  league  to  Daniel  Sill,  Sen.  Moon's  ranch 
is  held  by  W.  C.  Moon  and  Merritt.  A.  G.  Toomes 
occupies  a  tract  north  of  the  creek  which  bears  his 

29  A  name  applied  by  Sutter  from  the  feather  ornaments  of  the  natives. 

30  It  was  founded  in  1841,  and  managed  successively  by  Bidwell,  Benitz, 
S.  J.  Hensley,  and  Kanaka  Jim.     It  had  5,000  head  of  cattle  and  1,200  horses. 

31  Who  settled  on  the  present  site  of  Nicolaus.     North  of  Hock  Farm,  C. 
W.  Fliigge  had  obtained  a  grant  which  was  transferred  to  Consul  Larkin. 

32  On  the  five-league  rancho  given  to  P.  Gutierrez,  deceased,  by  Sutter,  who 
made  several  grants  in  the  valley,  by  authority.     They  bought  land  and  cattle 
and  divided. 

33  Smith,  who  came  first,  in  1845,  sold  a  part  of  his  tract  to  Patterson. 
The  first  two  had  nearly  2,000  head  of  stock. 

34  This  rancho,  on  the  site  of  the  present  Marysville,  he  called  New  Meck 
lenburg,  in  honor  of  his  native  German  state.     Chas  Covillaud  was  manager; 
trade  relations  were  had  with  San  Francisco. 

35  The  former  on  a  grant  claimed  by  Huber;  the  two  latter  on  Farwell's 

36Northgrave  was  a  settler  on  the  tract  claimed  by  S.  J.  Hensley,  but 
disallowed  afterward.  James  W.  Marshall  had  abandoned  his  holding  on  the 
same  tract.  The  confirmed  grants  were  Fernandez,  4  leagues;  Arroyo  Chico 
of  Bidwell,  5  leagues;  Agua  Fria  of  Pratt,  6  leagues;  Llano  Seco  of  Parrott, 
4  leagues;  Bosquejo  of  Lassen,  5  leagues;  Boga  of  Larkin,  5  leagues;  Esquon 
of  Neal,  5  leagues.  The  claims  of  Cambuston,  Huber,  Hensley}  Nye,  and 
others  were  rejected. 

37  BidwdVs  Cal.  1841-8,  MS.,  231-2. 


name,  and  above,  on  Antelope  Creek,  lives  Job  F. 
Dye,  below  P.  B.  Reading,  who  ranks  as  the  most 
northern  settler  in  the  valley,  on  Cotton  wood  Creek,38 
one  of  the  numerous  tributaries  here  fed  by  the  adja 
cent  snow-crowned  summits  dominated  by  the  majes 
tic  Shasta. 

Descending  along  the  west  bank  of  the  Sacramento, 
we  encounter  the  rancho  of  William  B.  Ide,  of  Bear-flag 
fame  ;39  below  him,  on  Elder  Creek,  is  William  C.  Chard, 
and  R.  H.  Thomes  on  the  creek  named  after  him.40 
On  Stony  Creek,  whence  Sutter  obtains  grindstones,41 
live  Granville  P.  Swift,  Franklin  Sears,  and  Bryant; 
below  them  John  S.  Williams  has  lately  settled  with 
his  wife,  the  first  white  woman  in  this  region.42  Watt 
Anderson  is  found  on  Sycamore  Slough,  and  on  the 
north  side  of  Cache  Creek  the  family  of  William  Gor 
don.43  Eastward  lies  the  rancho  of  William  Knight,44 
and  below  him,  facing  the  mouth  of  Feather  River, 
that  of  Thomas  M.  Hardy.45  In  a  hut  of  tule,  facing 
the  Sutter's-fort  grant,  lives  John  Schwartz,  a  reticent 
uilder  of  airy  castles  upon  his  broad  domain,  and  of 
whom  it  is  said  that,  having  lost  his  own  language, 
he  never  learned  another.  A  northern  slice  of  his 
land  he  sold  to  James  McDowell  and  family.46  On 
Putah  Creek,  John  R.  Wolfskill  had,  since  1842,  oc 
cupied  a  four-league  grant.  Adjoining,  on  Ulattis 

58  One  Julian  occupied  it  for  him  in  1845,  and  he  himself  settled  theie  in 

3a  Just  below  the  present  Red  Bluff,  a  tract  bought  by  him  from  Josiah 
Belden.  These  northern  grants  averaged  five  leagues  each. 

40  He  built  the  first  dwelling  in  the  county,  on  the  site  of  Tehama 

41  Cut  by  Moon,  Merritt,  and  Lassen. 

42  Of  Colusa  county,  daughter  of  Jos.  Gordon.     He  located  himself  two 
miles  south  of  Princeton,  on  the  Larkin  children's  grant,  with  800  head  of 
cattle,  on  shares  with  Larkin.     M.  Diaz'  claim  to  11  leagues  was  rejected. 

43  Who  built  the  first  dwelling  in  Yolo  county,  in  1842,  on  Quesisosi  grant. 
His  son-in-law,  Nathan  Coombs,  was  probably  the  first  white  bridegroom  in 
the  Sacramento  Valley.     Married  by  Sutter  in  1844.     His  son  William  was 
the  first  white  child  of  Yolo  county.     Coombs  soon  moved  to  Napa  Valley. 

44  Who  settled  at  the  present  Knight's  Landing. 

45  An  Englishman,  hostile  to  Americans. 

46  McDowell  built  a  log  house  at  the  present  Washington,  and  was,  in  1847, 
presented  with  the  first  white  girl  of  Yolo  county.     He  paid  Schwartz  12£ 
cents  an  acre  for  GOO  acres. 

HIST.  CAL.,  VOL.  VI.    2 


Creek,  extends  the  grant  of  Vaca  and  Pena,  and  at 
its  mouth  are  Feltis  Miller  J  D.  Hoppe,  and  Daniel 
K.  Berry. 

Hence,  down  the  Sacramento  for  four  leagues 
stretches  the  Ulpinos  grant  of  John  Bidwell,  which 
he  sought  to  improve  by  sending,  in  1846,  a  party 
of  immigrants  to  transform  the  lonely  house  then 
standing  there  into  a  town.  After  a  few  months' 
suffering  from  hunger  and  hardships,  the  party  aban 
doned  a  site  for  which  the  Indian  name  of  Halo  Che- 
muck,  '  nothing  to  eat/  was  for  a  time  appropriately 
retained.  Charles  D.  Hoppe  bought  a  fourth  of  the 
tract  in  1847/7  Equally  unsuccessful  was  the  con 
temporaneous  effort  of  L.  W.  Hastings,  a  Mormon 
agent,  to  found  the  town  of  Montezuma,  fifteen  miles 
below,  at  the  junction  of  the  Sacramento  and  San 
Joaquin  in  Suisun  Bay.  His  co-religionists  objected 
to  the  site  as  devoid  of  timber;  yet  he  remained  hope 
ful,  and  ordered  a  windmill  and  ferry-boat  to  increase 
the  attractions  of  his  solitary  house.*8 

These  efforts  at  city  building  indicate  how  widely 
appreciated  was  the  importance  of  a  town  which 
should  tap,  not  merely  each  section  of  the  great  val 
ley,  as  at  Sutter's  Fort  and  Stockton,  but  the  joint 
outlet  of  the  Sacramento  and  San  Joaquin.  It  was 
foreseen  that  hence  would  flow  the  main  wealth  of 
the  country,  although  the  metallic  nature  of  the  first 
current  was  little  anticipated.  The  idea  seems  to 
have  struck  simultaneously  Bidwell,  Hastings,  and 
Semple.  The  last  named,  with  a  judgment  worthy  of 
the  towering  editor  of  the  Ccdifornian,  selected  the  bil 
lowy  slopes  of  the  headland  guarding  the  opening  of 
this  western  Bosphorus,  the  strait  of  Carquines,  the 
inner  golden  gate  of  San  Francisco  Bay.  Indeed,  the 

47  The  present  town  of  Rio  Vista  lies  just  below  the  site.     Another  version 
has  it  that  the  three  families  settled  there  were  carried  away  by  the  gold- 
fever,  and  that  'halachummuck'  was  called  out  by  Indians  when  they  here 
killed  a  party  of  starving  hunters. 

48  Col.  Star,  Oct.  23,  1847;  Bu/um's  Four  Month*,  9°      Here  rose,   later, 
e  hamlet  of  Collinsville. 


superiority  of  the  site  for  a  metropolis  is  unequalled  on 
the  Pacific  seaboard,  and  unsurpassed  by  any  spot  in 
the  world,  lying  as  it  does  at  the  junction  of  the  valley 
outlet  with  the  head  of  ocean  navigation,  with  fine 
anchorage  and  land-locked  harbor,  easy  ferriage 
across  the  bay,  fine  climate,  smooth  and  slightly  ris 
ing  ground,  with  a  magnificent  view  over  bays  and 
isles,  and  the  lovely  valley  of  the  contra  costa  nestling 
at  the  foot  of  Mount  Diablo.  And  Benicia,  as  it 
was  finally  called,  prospered  under  the  energetic  man 
agement.  Although  less  than  a  year  old,  it  now 
boasted  nearly  a  score  of  buildings,  with  two  hundred 
lots  sold,  a  serviceable  ferry,  and  with  prospects  that, 
utterly  eclipsing  those  of  adjoining  aspirants,  were 
creating  a  flutter  of  alarm  in  the  city  at  the  Gate.49 

Passing  on  the  extreme  right  the  Armijo  rancho,50 
and  proceeding  up  the  Napa  Valley,  now  famed  alike 
for  its  scenery  and  vineyards,  we  find  a  large  number 
of  settlers.  Foremost  among  them  is  the  veteran 
trapper,  George  Yount,  who  in  1836  built  here  the 
first  American  block-house  of  the  country,  as  well  as 
the  first  flour  and  saw  mill,  and  extended  warm  hos 
pitality  to  subsequent  comers.  North  of  him  entered 
soon  afterward  J.  B.  Chiles  and  William  Pope  into 
the  small  valleys  bearing  their  names,  and  E.  T. 
Bale  and  John  York.51  The  Berreyesa  brothers  oc 
cupy  their  large  valley  across  the  range,  on  the  head 
waters  of  Putah  Creek;  and  on  the  site  of  the  present 
Napa  City,  just  about  to  be  laid  out,  stand  the  two 
houses  of  Cayetano  Juarez  and  Nicolas  Higuera,  who 
had  settled  on  this  spot  in  1840,  followed  by  Salvador 
Vallejo,  and  later  by  Joel  P.  Walker  and  Nathan 

49  Stephen  Cooper  was  alcalde.     For  other  names,  see  preceding  volume,  v. 
672  et  seq. 

50  Properly  in  Suisun  Valley,  near  the  present  Fairfield,  where  bordered 
also  the  grants  of  Suisun  and  Suscol,  the  latter  claimed  by  Vallejo,  but  which 
claim  was  rejected.     Mare  Island  was  used  as  a  stock-range  by  V.  Castro, 
its  yrantee. 

51  At  the  present  St  Helena  and  Calistoga,  respectively.     With  Yount  was 
C.  Hopper;  with  Pope,  Barnett;  and  with  Chiles,  Baldridge.     Below  extended 
the  Chimiles  grant  of  J.  I.  Berreyesa. 


Coombs;  ana  by  John  Rose  and  J.  C.  Davis,  who  in 
1846  built  a  schooner  here,  and  were  now  erecting  a 
mill  for  Vallejo.52  Northward,  in  the  region  round 
Clear  Lake,  Stone  and  Kelsey  occupy  a  stock-range, 
and  George  Rock  holds  the  Guenoc  rancho.53 

The  similar  and  parallel  valley  of  Sonoma,  signifying 
'  of  the  moon,'  is  even  more  thickly  occupied  under 
the  auspices  of  M.  G.  Vallejo,  the  potentate  of  this 
region  and  ranking  foremost  among  Hispano-Cal- 
ifornians.  This  town  of  Sonoma,  founded  as  a  pre 
sidio  thirteen  years  before,  near  the  dilapidated  mis 
sion  Solano,  claims  now  a  population  of  260,  under 
Alcalde  Lilburn  W.  Boggs,  with  twoscore  houses, 
among  which  the  two-story  adobe  of  the  general  is 
regarded  as  one  of  the  most  imposing  in  the  country. 
The  barrack  is  occupied  by  a  company  of  New  York 
volunteers  under  Captain  Brackett,  which  adds  greatly 
to  the  animation  of  the  place.  Several  members  of 
Vallejo's  family  occupy  lands  above  and  below  on 
Sonoma  Creek,  as,  for  instance,  Jacob  P.  Leese;  west 
ward  on  Petaluma  Creek,  Juan  Miranda  and  family 
have  settled;  above  are  James  Hudspeth,  the  large 

frant  of  the  Carrillos,54  and  the  fertile  ranchos  of 
lark  West  and  John  B.  R.  Cooper,  the  latter  with 
mill  and  smithy.  At  Bodega,  Stephen  Smith  had 
in  1846  established  a  saw-mill,  worked  by  the  first 
steam-engine  in  California,  and  obtained  a  vast  grant,55 
which  embraced  the  former  Russian  settlement  with 
its  dismantled  stockade  fort.  Edward  M.  Mclntosh 
and  James  Dawson's  widow  hold  the  adjoining  ran 
chos  of  Jonive  and  Pogolomi,  the  latter  having  planted 
a  vineyard  on  the  Estero  Americano.  Above  on  the 

52  There  were  a  number  of  other  settlers,  nearly  four  score,  by  this  time, 
and  two  saw-mills  and  two  flour-mills.   CuL  Star,  Jan.  22,  April  1,  1848. 

53  Of  21,000  acres.     J.  P.  Leese  and  the  Vallejos  had  stock,  the  latter  claim 
ing  the  Lupyomi  tract  of  16  leagues,  which  was  rejected,  and  Rob  F   Ridley 
that  of  Collayomi  of  8,000  acres,  which  was  confirmed. 

61  Mrs  Carrillo's  covering  the  present  Santa  Rosa,  and  Joaquin  Carrillo's 
that  of  Sebastopol. 

55  Of  35,000  acres.  Both  men  had  been  sailors,  the  former  from  Scotland, 
the  other  from  Erin. 


coast  are  the  tracts  of  William  Benhz  and  Ernest 
Rufus,  the  latter  with  a  grist-mill.58  Along  Russian 
River  stretches  the  Sotoyome  grant  of  H.  D.  Fitch, 
with  vineyards  and  mill.57  Cyrus  Alexander,  lately 
Fitch's  agent,  had  occupied  Alexander  Valley,  and 
below  him  now  live  Lindsay  Carson  and  Louis  Le 
gend  re.58 

The  hilly  peninsula  between  the  bay  and  ocean, 
named  after  the  Indian  chief  Marin,  is  indebted  for  a 
comparatively  compact  occupation  mainly  to  its  posi 
tion  relative  to  other  settlements,  and  to  the  impulse 
given  by  the  now  secularized  and  decaying  mission 
establishment  of  San  Rafael.  This  lovely  spot  was 
budding  into  a  town,  and  contained  several  settlers,59 
besides  Tiinoteo  Murphy,  in  charge  of  the  mission  es 
tate.  Above  extend  the  tracts  of  Novato60  and  Ni- 
casio,  the  latter  owned  by  James  Black,61  and  adjoin 
ing,  those  of  Ramon  Mesa  and  Bartolome  Bojorques. 
Rafael  Garcia  and  Gregorio  Briones  are  located  on 
the  ranehos  of  Tomales  and  Bolinas,  owning  many 
cattle;  and  William  A.  Richardson  holds  that  of  Sau- 
zalito,  which  is  already  an  anchorage  and  supply  sta 
tion,62  yet  with  aspirations  cramped  by  the  closely 
pressing  hills,  and  overshadowed  by  the  looming  me 

56  Erected  by  H.  Hiigler  on  Walhalla  River,  -which  is  now  usually  called 
Gualala  River. 

57  Covering  the  present  site  of  Healdsburg. 

58  Among  other  settlers  may  be  mentioned  Frank  Bedwell,  Mose  Carson, 
Fred.  Starke,  Hoeppner,  Wilson,  the  Pinas,  and  the  Gordons. 

39  Among  them  Mrs  Merriner  and  sons,  Jacob  and  J.  O.  B. ;  Short  and 
Mrs  Miller  near  by.     Ignacio  Pacheco  was  justice  of  the  peace. 

60  Obtained  by  F.  Fales  in  1839  and  transferred  to  Leese. 
1  Who  had  obtained  it  from  J.  O'Farrell,  in  exchange  for  his  grant  near 

62  The  earliest  settler  here,  since  1826,  had  been  John  J.  Read,  who  subse 
quently  obtained  the  Corte  de  Madera  rancho,  where  he  planted  orchards  and 
erected  a  grist-mill,  followed  by  a  saw-mill  in  1843,  the  year  of  his  death. 
Angel  Island  was  for  a  time  occupied  by  A.  M.  Osio.     Among  other  settlers 
were  Martin  and  Tom  Wood,  the  latter  a  famous  vaquero. 

63  On  the  map  presented  I  mark  with  preference  the  names  of  settlers, 
giving  the  rancho  only  when  the  actual  holder  is  in  doubt,  as  represented  by 
proxy  or  tenant,  or  claiming  merely  by  virtue  of  grant.     The  preceding  mat 
ter  has  been  drawn  from  official  documents,  books,  and  manuscripts,  with  uo 
small  supplementing  by  the  mouths  of  living  men 


Such  is  the  detail  of  the  picture  which  I  wish  to 
present  of  central  and  northern  California  in  Jan 
uary  1848.  I  will  complete  it  with  some  generalities 
of  physical  features  and  population,  thus  giving  as  a 
whole  the  inhabitants  and  their  environment. 

It  is  the  dawn  of  history  in  these  parts,  presently 
to  be  followed  by  a  golden  sunlight  flooding  the 
whole  western  world.  All  along  the  centuries  Cali 
fornia  had  lain  slumbering,  wrapt  in  obscurity,  and 
lulled  by  the  monotone  of  ocean.  The  first  fitful 
dreams  of  explorers  in  search  of  an  ever-eluding 
strait,  of  cities  stored  with  treasures,  had  subsided 
into  pastoral  scenes,  with  converts  and  settlers  clus 
tering  round  white-walled  missions  in  the  shadow  of 
the  cross.  Then  came  the  awakening,  impelled  by  a 
ruder  invasion  of  soldiers  and  land-greedy  backwoods 
men,  the  premonitory  ripple  of  international  interest 
and  world-absorbing  excitement. 

Strewn  lavishly  about  is  what  men  most  covet,  those 
portions  of  nature's  handiwork  called  wealth  and 
wealth-making  material,  the  acquisition  of  which  is  the 
great  burden  progressive  men  conventionally  lay  upon 
themselves  as  the  price  of  their  civilization.  These 
resources  reveal  themselves  in  the  long  snow-clad 
uplands  of  the  Sierra,  with  their  timber  and  metals,  in 
the  northern  foothills,  revelling  in  perennial  spring, 
and  in  the  semi-tropic  vegetation  of  the  central  and 
southern  valleys.  The  extremes  of  heat  and  cold,  of 
desert  aridity  and  unhealthy  rankness,  are  rare  and 
of  small  extent,  serving  rather  to  illustrate  as  rem 
nants  the  method  and  means  of  nature  in  producing 
one  of  her  masterpieces.  Such  are  the  unsightly 
marshes  in  different  localities;  the  Colorado  desert 
bordering  the  river  of  that  name,  and  its  link  along 
the  eastern  declivity  of  the  Sierra  Nevada  with 'the 
great  basin  of  the  interior,  which  in  the  south  is 
marked  by  a  dismal  stretch  of  bare  ridges  and  inter 
vening  valleys  of  sand  and  volcanic  scoria,  with  occa 
sional  muddy  salt  pools  and  cracked  surfaces  frosted 


with  alkali,  and  in  the  south  by  a  rugged  lake  basin. 
Yet  even  here  the  evil  is  superficial,  for  nature  has 
left  compensation  in  many  valuable  minerals;  and 
art  promises  to  continue  her  task  of  reclamation  by 
means  of  palm-lined  canals,  health-bringing  eucalyptus 
groves,  and  rain-inviting  forests. 

It  is  a  terrane  younger  than  the  eastern  seaboard, 
wrought  not  by  the  same  slow  and  prosy  process 
of  ordinary  strata  formation,  but  in  many  a  fit  of  pas 
sion,  with  upheavals  and  burstings  asunder,  with  surg 
ing  floods  and  scorching  blasts.  The  soil  yet  quivers 
and  is  quick  with  electric  force,  and  climatic  moods 
are  fitful  as  ever;  here  a  gentle  summer's  holiday, 
there  a  winter  of  magnificent  disorder;  between,  ex 
hilarating  spring,  with  buds  and  freshness,  and  beyond, 
a  torrid  fringe,  parched  and  enervating.  Side  by 
side  in  close  proximity  are  decided  differences,  with 
a  partial  subordination  of  latitude  and  season  to 
local  causes.  Thus,  on  the  peninsula  of  San  Francisco 
winter  appears  in  vernal  warmth  and  vigor,  and  sum 
mer  as  damp  and  chilly  autumn,  while  under  the  shel 
ter  of  some  ridge,  or  farther  from  the  ocean,  summer 
is  hot  and  arid,  and  winter  cold  and  frosty. 

While  configuration  permits  surprises,  it  also  tem 
pers  them,  and  as  a  rule  the  variations  are  not  sud 
den.  The  sea  breezes  are  fairly  constant  whenever 
their  refreshing  presence  is  most  needed,  leaving 
rarely  a  night  uncooled;  and  the  seasons  are  marked 
enough  within  their  mild  extremes.  At  San  Fran 
cisco  a  snow-fall  is  almost  unknown,  and  a  thunder 
storm  or  a  hot  night  extremely  rare.  Indeed,  the 
sweltering  days  number  scarcely  half  a  dozen  during 
the  year.  The  average  temperature  is  about  56  de 
grees  Fahrenheit,  which  is  the  mean  for  spring..  In 
summer  and  autumn  this  rises  to  60  and  59,  respect 
ively,  falling  in  winter  to  51,  while  at  Sacramento  the 
average  is  58  degrees,  with  56°,  69°,  61°,  and  45°  for 
the  four  seasons  respectively.  At  Humboldt  Bay,  in 
the  north,  the  temperature  varies  from  43  degrees  in 


the  winter  to  57°  in  the  summer,  averaging  51 -^°;  and 
at  San  Diego,  in  the  south,  it  ranges  as  the  extremes 
from  52  to  71  degrees,6*  while  the  average  of  summer 
and  winter  and  night  and  day  does  not  vary  over  ten 

In  summer  an  equilibrium  is  approached;  in  winter 
the  tiresome  reserve  is  broken.  By  early  autumn  a 
wide-spread  deadness  obtains ;  the  hills  wear  a  bleached 
appearance,  the  smaller  streams  are  empty,  the  plain 
is  parched  and  dusty,  the  soil  cracked  in  fissures  from 
excessive  dryness;  green  fields  have  turned  sere  and 
yellow,  and  the  weeds  snap  like  glass  when  trodden 
on.  It  is  the  period  of  nature's  repose.  The  grass  is 
not  dead,  but  sleepeth.  When  the  winter  rains  begin, 
in  November,  after  a  respite  of  six  months,  vegetal 
life  revives;  the  softened  soil  puts  on  fresh  garments; 
the  arid  waste  blossoms  into  a  garden.  The  cooler 
air  of  winter  condenses  the  vapor-laden  winds  of  ocean, 
which,  during  the  preceding  months,  are  sapped  of 
their  moisture  by  the  hot  and  thirsty  air.  And  all 
this  is  effected  with  only  half  the  amount  of  rain  fall 
ing  in  the  Atlantic  states,  the  average  at  San  Fran 
cisco  being  little  over  twenty  inches  annually,  at 
Sacramento  one  tenth  less,  and  at  San  Diego  one 
half;  while  in  the  farther  north  the  fall  is  heavier  and 
more  evenly  distributed. 

In  this  dry,  exhilarating  atmosphere  the  effect  of 
the  sun  is  not  so  depressing  as  in  moister  regions,  and 
with  cool,  refreshing  nights,  the  hottest  days  are  bear 
able.  It  is  one  of  the  most  vitalizing  of  climates  for 
mind  and  body,  ever  stimulating  to  activity  and  en 
joyment.  Land  and  sea  vie  with  each  other  in  life- 
giving  supremacy,  while  man  steps  in  to  enjoy  the 
benefits.  When  the  one  rises  in  undue  warmth,  the 
other  frowns  it  down;  when  one  grows  cold  and  sul 
len,  the  other  beams  in  happy  sunshine.  Winds  and 

64  Severe  extremes  are  confined  to  a  few  torrid  spots  like  Fort  Yuma,  and 
to  the  summits  of  the  eastern  ranges.  Comprehensive  data  on  climate  in 
HitteWs  Comm.  and  Indust.,  62-81. 


currents,  sun  and  configuration,  the  warm  stream 
from  ancient  Cathay,  and  the  dominating  mountains, 
all  aid  in  the  equalization  of  differences. 

Thus  lay  the  valley  of  California  a-dreaming,  with 
visions  of  empire  far  down  the  vistas  of  time,  when 
behold,  the  great  awakening  is  already  at  hand !  Even 
now  noiseless  bells  are  ringing  the  ingathering  of  the 
nations;  for  here  is  presently  to  be  found  that  cold, 
impassive  element  which  civilization  accepts  as  its 
symbol  of  the  Most  Desirable,  and  for  which  accord 
ingly  all  men  perform  pilgrimage  and  crusade,  to  toil 
and  fight  and  die. 


JANUARY,  1848. 


JOHN  A.  SUTTER  was  the  potentate  of  the  Sacra 
mento,  as  we  have  seen.  He  had  houses  and  lands, 
flocks  and  herds,  mills  and  machinery;  he  counted  his 
skilled  artisans  by  the  score,  and  his  savage  retainers 
by  the  hundred.  He  was,  moreover,  a  man  of  prog 
ress.  Although  he  had  come  from  cultured  Europe, 
and  had  established  himself  in  an  American  wilderness, 
he  had  no  thought  of  drifting  into  savagism. 

Among  his  more  pressing  wants  at  this  moment 
was  a  saw-mill.  A  larger  supply  of  lumber  was  needed 
for  a  multitude  of  purposes.  Fencing  was  wanted. 
The  flour-mills,  then  in  course  of  construction  at 
Brighton,  would  take  a  large  quantity;  the  neighbors 
would  buy  some,  and  boards  might  profitably  be  sent 
to  San  Francisco,  instead  of  bringing  them  from  that 
direction.1  There  were  no  good  forest  trees,  with 

1  Since  1845  Sutter  had  obtained  lumber  from  the  mountains,  got  ont  by 
whip-saws.  BidwelVs  Gal.  1841-8,  MS.,  226.  The  author  of  this  most  valu 
able  manuscript  informs  me  further  that  Sutter  had  for  years  contemplated 
building  a  saw-mill  in  order  to  avoid  the  labor  and  cost  of  sawing  lumber  by 
hand  in  the  redwoods  on  tfie  coast,  and  bringing  it  round  by  the  bay  in  his 
vessel.  With  this  object  he  at  various  times  sent  exploring  parties  into  the 



the  requisite  water-power,  nearer  than  the  foothills  of 
the  mountains  to  the  east.  Just  what  point  along 
this  base  line  would  prove  most  suitable,  search  would 
determine;  and  for  some  time  past  this  search  had 
been  going  on,  until  it  was  interrupted  by  the  war  of 
conquest.  The  war  being  over,  explorations  were 

Twoscore  miles  above  Sutter's  Fort,  a  short  dis 
tance  up  the  south  branch  of  American  River,  the 
rocky  gateway  opens,  and  the  mountains  recede  to  the 
south,  leaving  in  their  wake  softly  rounded  hills  cov 
ered  with  pine,  balsam,  and  oak,  while  on  the  north 
are  somewhat  abrupt  and  rocky  slopes,  patched  with 
grease-wood  and  chemisal,  and  streaked  with  the 
deepening  shades  of  narrow  gulches.  Between  these 
bounds  is  a  valley  four  miles  in  circumference,  with 
red  soil  now  covered  by  a  thin  verdure,  shaded  here 
and  there  by  low  bushes  and  stately  groves.  Culuma, 
'beautiful  vale,'2  the  place  was  called.  At  times  sunk 
in  isolation,  at  times  it  was  stirred  by  the  presence 
of  a  tribe  of  savages  bearing  its  name,  whose  several 
generations  here  cradled,  after  weary  roaming,  sought 
repose  upon  the  banks  of  a  useful,  happy,  and  some 
times  frolicsome  stream.  Within  the  half-year  civil 
ization  had  penetrated  these  precincts,  to  break  the 
periodic  solitude  with  the  sound  of  axe  and  rifle; 
for  here  the  saw-mill  men  had  come,  marking  their 
course  by  a  tree-blazed  route,  presently  to  show  the 
way  to  the  place  where  was  now  to  be  played  the  first 
scene  of  a  drama  which  had  for  its  audience  the  world. 

Among  the  retainers  of  the  Swiss  hacendado  at 
this  time  was  a  native  of  New  Jersey,  James  Wilson 
Marshall,  a  man  of  thirty-three  years,  who  after  drift 
ing  in  the  western  states  as  carpenter  and  farmer,3 

mountains.  Bidwell  himself,  in  company  with  Semple,  was  on  one  of  these 
unsuccessful  expeditions  in  1846.  Mrs  Wimmer  states  that  in  June  1847  she 
made  ready  her  household  effects  to  go  to  Battle  Creek,  where  a  saw-mill  was 
to  be  erected,  but  the  men  changed  their  plans  and  went  to  Coloma. 

2  We  of  to-day  write  Colorna.  and  apply  the  name  to  the  town  risen  there. 

3 Born  in  1812  iu'Hope  township,  Hunterdon  county,  New  Jersey,  where 


came  hither  by  way  of  Oregon  to  California.  In  July 
1845  he  entered  the  service  of  Sutter,  and  was  duly 
valued  as  a  good  mechanic.  By  and  by  he  secured  a 
grant  of  land  on  Butte  Creek,4  on  which  he  placed 
some  live-stock,  and  went  to  work.  During  his  ab 
sence  in  the  war  southward,  this  was  lost  or  stolen; 
and  somewhat  discouraged,  he  turned  again  to  Sutter, 
and  readily  entered  into  his  views  for  building  a  saw 

The  old  difficulty  of  finding  a  site  still  remained, 
and  several  exploring  excursions  were  now  made  by 
Marshall,  sometimes  accompanied  by  Sutter,  and  by 
others  in  Sutter's  service.6  On  the  16th  of  May,  1847, 
Marshall  set  out  on  one  of  these  journeys,  accompanied 
by  an  Indian  guide  and  two  white  men,  Treador  and 
Graves.7  On  the  20th  they  were  joined  by  one  Gin 
gery,  who  had  been  exploring  with  the  same  object 
on  the  Cosumnes.  They  travelled  up  the  stream 
now  called  Weber  Creek  to  its  head,  pushed  on  to 
the  American  River,  discovered  Culuma,  arid  settled 
upon  this  place  as  the  best  they  had  found,  uniting 
as  it  did  the  requisite  water-power  and  timber,  with  a 

his  father  had  initiated  him  into  his  trade  as  wagon-builder.  Shortly  after 
his  twenty-first  birthday  the  prevailing  west  ward  current  of  migration  carried 
him  through  Indiana  and  Illinois  to  Missouri.  Here  he  took  up  a  homestead 
land  claim,  and  bid  fair  to  prosper,  when  fever  and  ague  brought  him  low, 
whereupon,  in  1844,  he  sought  the  Pacific  Coast.  Parxonx'  Life  of  Marshall, 
6-8.  He  started  in  May  1844,  and  crossed  by  way  of  Fort  Hall  to  Ore'gon, 
where  he  wintered.  He  then  joined  the  McMahon-Clyman  party  for  Califor 
nia.  See  Hist.  Cal.,  iv.  731,  this  series. 

4  Bought,  says  Parsons,  from  S.  J.  Hensley. 

0  Marshall  claims  to  have  first  proposed  the  scheme  to  Sutter.  Hutchinys' 
Mag.,  ii.  199.  This  is  doubtful,  as  shown  elsewhere,  and  is  in  any  event 

6  Marshall  says  that  while  stocking  the  ploughs,  three  men,  Gingery,  Wim- 
mer,  and  McLellan,  who  had  heard  of  his  contemplated  trip,  undertook  one 
themselves,  after  obtaining  what  information  and  directions  they  could  from 
Marshall.     Wimmer  found  timber  and  a  trail  on  what  is  now  known  as  the 
Diamond  Springs  road,  and  the  13th  of  May  he  and  Gingery  began  work  some 
thirteen  miles  west  of  the  place  where  the  Shingle  Springs  house  subsequently 
stood.     Gingery  was  afterward  with  Marshall  when  the  latter  discovered  the 
site  of  the  Coloma  mill. 

7  Marshall  implies  that  this  was  his  first  trip.     Sutter  states  definitely, 
'He  went  out  several  times  to  look  for  a  site.     I  was  with  him  twice  on  these 
occasions.     I  was  not  with*  him  when  he  determined  the  site  of  the  mill. ' 
Butter's  Pers.  Jtem.,  MS.,  160-1. 


possible  roadway  to  the  fort.8  Sutter  resolved  to 
lose  no  time  in  erecting  the  mill,  and  invited  Marshall 

O  ' 

to  join  him  as  partner.9  The  agreement  was  signed 
in  the  latter  part  of  August,10  and  shortly  afterward 
Marshall  set  out  with  his  party,  carrying  tools  and 
supplies  on  Mexican  ox-carts,  and  driving  a  flock  of 
sheep  for  food.  A  week  was  occupied  by  the  journey.11 
Shelter  being  the  first  thing  required  on  arrival,  a 
double  log  house  was  erected,  with  a  passage-way 
between  the  two  parts,  distant  a  quarter  of  a  mile  or 
more  from  the  mill  site.12  Subsequently  two  other 
cabins  were  constructed  nearer  the  site.  By  New- 
Year's  day  the  mill  frame  had  risen,  and  a  fortnight 

8 Marshall  estimated  that  even  then  the  lumber  would  have  to  be  hauled 
18  miles,  and  could  be  rafted  the  rest  of  the  way.  A  mission  Indian,  the 
alcalde  of  the  Cosumnes,  is  said  to  have  been  sent  to  solve  some  doubts  con 
cerning  the  site.  Marshall  must  indeed  have  been  well  disciplined.  Not 
many  men  of  his  temperament  would  have  permitted  an  Indian  to  verify  his 
doubted  word. 

9A  contract  was  drawn  up  by  John  Bidwell,  clerk,  in  which  Sutter  agreed 
to  furnish  the  men  and  means,  while  Marshall  was  to  superintend  the  con 
struction,  and  conduct  work  at  the  mill  after  its  completion.  It  is  difficult 
to  determine  what  the  exact  terms  of  this  contract  were.  Sutter  merely  re 
marks  that  he  gave  Marshall  an  interest  in  the  mill.  Pers.  Item.,  MS.,  160. 
Bidwell  says  nothing  more  than  that  he  drew  up  the  agreement.  Cal.  1841-8, 
MS.,  228.  Marshall,  in  his  communication  to  llutchinys'  Mcujazi/ie,  con 
tents  himself  with  saying  that  after  returning  from  his  second  trip,  the  'co 
partnership  was  completed.'  Parsons,  in  his  Life  of  Marshall,  79-80,  is  more 
explicit.  'The  terms  of  this  agreement,'  he  writes,  'were  to  the  effect  that 
Sutter  should  furnish  the  capital  to  build  a  mill  on  a  site  selected  by  Marshall, 
who  was  to  be  the  active  partner,  and  to  run  the  mill,  receiving  certain  com 
pensation  for  so  doing.  A  verbal  agreement  was  also  entered  into  between 
the  "parties,  to  the  effect  that  if  at  the  close  of  the  Mexican  war  then  pending 
California  should  belong  to  Mexico,  Sutter  as  a  citizen  of  that  republic  should 
possess  the  mill  site,  Marshall  retaining  his  rights  to  mill  privileges,  and  to 
cut  timber,  etc.;  while  if  the  country  was  ceded  to  the  United  States,  Mar 
shall  as  an  American  citizen  should  own  the  property.'  In  the  same  work,  p. 
177,  is  an  affidavit  of  John  Winters,  which  certifies  that  he,  Winters,  and 
Alden  S.  Bagley  purchased,  in  Dec.  1848,  John  A.  Sutter's  interest  in  the 
Coloma  mill— which  interest  was  one  half — for  $6,000,  and  also  a  third  of  the 
interest  of  Marshall  for  $2,000,  which  implies  that  Marshall  then  owned  the 
other  half.  Mrs  Wimmer,  in  her  narrative,  says  that  Sutter  and  Marshall 
were  equal  partners.  S.  F.  Bulletin,  Dec.  19,  1874. 

10  Marshall  says  Aug.  27th;  Parsons,  Aug.  19th;  Bidwell,  in  a  letter  to  the 
author,  Aug.  or  Sept. 

11  Mrs  Wimmer  makes  the  time  a  fortnight. 

12  One  part  of  the  house  was  occupied  by  the  men,  and  the  other  part  by 
the  Wimmers,  Mrs  Wimmer  cooking  for  the  company.     About  the  close  of 
the  year,  however,  a  dispute  arose,  whereupon  the  men  built  for  themselves  a 
cabin  near  the  half-completed  mill,  and  conducted  their  own  culinary  depart 
ment.     Their  food  was  chiefly  salt   salmon  and'  boiled  wheat.     Wimmer's 
young  sons  assisted  with  the  teaming. 



later  the  brush  dam  was  finished,  although  not  till 
the  fortitude  of  Marshall  and  his  men  had  been  tried 
by  a  flood  which  threatened  to  sweep  away  the  whole 

Another  trouble  arose  with  the  tail-race.  In  order 
to  economize  labor,  a  dry  channel  had  been  selected, 
forty  or  fifty  rods  long,  which  had  to  be  deepened  and 
widened.  This  involved  some  blasting  at  the  upper 
end;  but  elsewhere  it  was  found  necessary  merely  to 
loosen  the  earth  in  the  bed,  throwing  out  the  larger 

iMiiiia  NI 


stones,  and  let  the  water  during  the  night  pass  through 
the  sluice-gate  to  wash  away  the  debris. 

It  was  a  busy  scene  presented  at  this  advance  post 
of  civilization,  at  the  foot  of  the  towering  Sierra,  and 
it  was  fitly  participated  in  by  eight  aboriginal  lords  of 
the  soil,  partly  trained  at  New  Helvetia.  The  half- 
score  of  white  men  were  mostly  Mormons  of  the  dis 
banded  battalion,  even  now  about  to  turn  their  faces 
toward  the  new  Zion.  A  family  was  represented  in 
the  wife  and  children  of  Peter  L.  Wimmer,13  the  as- 

13  Original  form  of  name  appears  to  have  been  Weimer,  corrupted  by  Eng- 

THE  MILL  MEN.  31 

slstant  of  Marshall,  and  occupied  in  superintending  the 
Indians  digging  in  the  race.  Henry  W.  Bigler  was 
drilling  at  its  head;  Charles  Bennett  and  William 
Scott  were  working  at  the  bench ;  Alexander  Stephens 
and  James  Barger  were  hewing  timber;  Azariah 
Smith  and  William  Johnson  were  felling  trees;  and 
James  O.  Brown  was  whip-sawing  with  a  savage.1* 

They  were  a  cheerful  set,  working  with  a  will,  yet 
with  a  touch  of  insouciance,  imparted  to  some  extent 
by  the  picturesque  Mexican  sombrero  and  sashes,  and 
sustained  by  an  interchange  of  banter  at  the  sim 
plicity  or  awkwardness  of  the  savages.  In  Marshall 
they  had  a  passable  master,  though  sometimes  called 
queer.  He  was  a  man  fitted  by  physique  and  tem 
perament  for  the  backwoods  life,  which  had  lured  and 
held  him.  Of  medium  size,  strong  rather  than  well 
developed,  his  features  were  coarse,  with  a  thin  beard 
round  the  chin  and  mouth,  cut  short  like  the  brown 
hair;  broad  forehead  and  penetrating  eyes,  by  no 
means  unintelligent,  yet  lacking  intellectuality,  at 
times  gloomily  bent  on  vacancy,  at  times  flashing  with 
impatience.15  He  was  essentially  a  man  of  moods; 
his  mind  was  of  dual  complexion.  In  the  plain  and 

lish  pronunciation  to  Wimmer.  Bigler,  Diary,  MS.,  60,  has  Werner,  which 
approaches  the  Weitner  form. 

uAmong  those  who  had  set  out  with  Marshall  upon  the  first  expedition  of 
construction  were  Ira  Willis,  Sidney  Willis,  William  Kountze,  and  Ezekiel 
Persons.  The  Willis  brothers  and  Kountze  returned  to  the  fort  in  Septem 
ber  1847,  the  two  former  to  assist  Sutter  in  throwing  a  dam  across  the  Amer 
ican  River  at  the  grist-mill,  and  the  latter  on  account  of  ill  health.  Mention 
is  made  of  one  Evans,  sent  by  Sutter  with  Bigler,  Smith,  and  Johnson,  Ben 
nett  and  Scott  following  a  little  later;  but  whether  Evans  or  Persons  were  on 
the  ground  at  this  time,  or  had  left,  no  one  states.  Bigler,  Stephens,  Brown, 
Barger,  Johnson,  Smith,  the  brothers  Willis,  and  Kountze  had  formerly  be 
longed  to  the  Mormon  battalion. 

15  Broad  enough  across  the  chest,  free  and  natural  in  movement,  he  thought 
lightly  of  fatigue  and  hardships.  His  complexion  was  a  little  shaded;  the 
mouth  declined  toward  the  corners;  the  nose  and  head  were  well  shaped.  In 
this  estimate  I  am  assisted  by  an  old  daguerreotype  lying  before  me,  and 
which  reminds  me  of  Marshall  s  answer  to  the  editor  of  Hatchings'  Magazine 
in  1857,  when  asked  for  his  likeness.  'I  wish  to  say  that  I  feel  it  a  duty  I 
owe  to  myself,'  he  writes  from  Coloma  the  5th  of  Sept.,  'to  retain  my  like 
ness,  as  it  is  in  fact  all  I  have  that  I  can  call  my  own ;  and  I  feel  like  any  other 
poor  wretch,  I  want  something  for  self.  The  sale  of  it  may  yet  keep  me 
from  starving,  or  it  may  buy  me  a  dose  of  medicine  in  sickness,  or  pay  for 
the  funeral  of  a  dog,  and  such  is  all  that  I  expect,  judging  from  former  kind 
nesses.  I  owe  the  country  nothing.' 


proximate,  he  was  sensible  and  skilful;  in  the  obscure 
and  remote,  he  was  utterly  lost.  In  temper  it  was 
so;  with  his  companions  and  subordinates  he  was 
free  and  friendly;  with  his  superiors  and  the  world 
at  large  he  was  morbidly  ill-tempered  and  surly.16 
He  was  taciturn,  with  visionary  ideas,  linked  to 
spiritualism,  that  repelled  confidence,  and  made  him 
appear  eccentric  and  morbid;  he  was  restless,  yet 
capable  of  self-denying  perseverance  that  was  fre 
quently  stamped  as  obstinacy.17 

Early  in  the  afternoon   of  Monday,  the  24th18  of 

16 For  example,  Bigler,  who  worked  under  him,  says  of  him,  Diary,  MS., 
57,  'An  entire  stranger  to  us,  but  proved  to  be  a  gentleman;'  and  again,  72, 
'in  a  first-rate  good  humor,  as  he  most  always  was.'  He  was  a  truthful  man, 
so  far  as  he  knew  the  truth.  '  Whatever  Mr  Marshall  tells  you,  you  may  rely 
on  as  correct,'  said  the  people  of  Coloma  to  one  writing  in  Hutchings*  Mag., 
ii.  201.  This  is  the  impression  he  made  on  his  men.  On  the  other  hand,  Sut- 
ter,  who  surely  knew  him  well  enough,  and  would  be  the  last  person  to 
malign  any  one,  says  to  the  editor  of  the  Lancaster  Examiner:  '  Marshall  was 
like  a  crazy  man.  He  -\vas  one  of  those  visionary  men  who  was  always  dream 
ing  about  something.'  And  to  me  Sutter  remarked;  'He  was  a  very  curious 
man,  quarrelled  with  nearly  everybody,  though  I  could  get  along  with  him.' 
Pers.  Hem.,  MS.,  1GO. 

17  Passionate,  he  was  seldom  violent;  strong,  he  was  capable  of  drinking 
deeply  and  coming  well  out  of  it;  but  he  did  not  care  much  for  the  pleasures  of 
intoxication,  nor  was  he  the  drunkard  and  gambler  that  some  have  called  him. 
He  was  not  always  actuated  by  natural  causes.  Once  in  a  restaurant  in  San 
Francisco,  in  company  with  Sutter,  he  broke  out:  'Are  we  alone?'  'Yes,' 
Sutter  said.  '  No,  we  are  not, '  Marshall  replied,  '  there  is  a  body  there  which 
you  cannot  see,  but  which  I  can.  I  have  been  inspired  by  heaven  to  act  as  a 
medium,  and  I  am  to  tell  Major-General  Sutter  what  to  do.'  But  though 
foolish  in  some  directions,  he  was  in  others  a  shrewd  observer.  Sutter,  Pcrs. 
Rem.,  MS.,  1GO,  and  Bid  well,  Gal.  1841-8,  MS.,  228,  both  praise  him  as  a 
mechanic;  and  though  in  some  respects  a  fool,  he  is  still  called  'an  honest 
man.'  Barstow's  Stat.,  MS.,  14;  S.  F.  Alta  Gal.,  Aug.  17,  1874.  To  dress, 
naturally,  he  paid  but  little  attention.  He  was  frequently  seen  in  white 
linen  trousers,  buckskin  leggings  and  moccasons,  and  Mexican  sombrero. 

18 The  19th  of  January  is  the  date  usually  given;  but  I  am  satisfied  it  is 
incorrect.  There  are  but  two  authorities  to  choose  between,  Marshall,  the 
discoverer,  and  one  Henry  W.  Bigler,  a  Mormon  engaged  upon  the  work  at 
the  time.  Besides  confusion  of  mind  in  other  respects,  Marshall  admits  that 
he  does  not  know  the  date.  'On  or  about  the  19th  of  January,'  he  says, 
Hutching*1  Magazine,  ii.  200;  'I  am  not  quite  certain  to  a  day,  but  it  was 
between  the  18th  or  20th. '  Whereupon  the  19th  has  been  generally  accepted. 
Bigler,  on  the  other  hand,  was  a  cool,  clear-headed,  methodical  man;  more 
over,  he  kept  a  journal,  in  which  he  entered  occurrences  on  the  spot,  and  it 
is  from  this  journal  I  get  my  date.  If  further  evidence  be  wanting,  we  have 
it.  Marshall  states  that  four  days  after  the  discovery  he  proceeded  to  New 
Helvetia  with  specimens.  Now,  by  reference  to  another  journal,  N~  Helvetia 
Diary,  we  find  that  Marshall  arrived  at  the  fort  on  the  evening  of  the  28th. 
If  we  reckon  the  day  of  discovery  as  one  of  the  four  days,  allow  Marshall  one 


January,  1848,  while  sauntering  along  the  tail-race 
inspecting  the  work,  Marshall  noticed  yellow  particles 
mingled  with  the  excavated  earth  which  had  been 
washed  by  the  late  rains.  He  gave  it  little  heed  at 
first;  but  preseatly  seeing  more,  and  some  in  scales, 
the  thought  occurred  to  him  that  possibly  it  might  be 
gold.  Sending  an  Indian  to  his  cabin  for  a  tin  plate, 
he  washed  out  some  of  the  dirt,  separating  thereby  as 
much  of  the  dust  as  a  ten-cent  piece  would  hold;  then 
he  went  about  his  business,  stopping  a  while  to  ponder 
on  the  matter.  During  the  evening  he  remarked 
once  or  twice  quietly,  somewhat  doubtingly,  "Boys,  I 
believe  I  have  found  a  gold  mine."  "I  reckon  not," 
was  the  response;  "no  such  luck." 

Up  betimes  next  morning,  according  to  his  custom, 
he  walked  down  by  the  race  to  see  the  effect  of  the 
night's  sluicing,  the  head-gate  being  closed  at  day 
break  as  usual.  Other  motives  prompted  his  investi 
gation,  as  may  be  supposed,  and  led  to  a  closer  exam 
ination  of  the  debris.  On  reaching  the  end  of  the 
race  a  glitter  from  beneath  the  water  caught  his  eye, 
and  bending  down  he  picked  from  its  lodgement 
against  a  projection  of  soft  granite,  some  six  inches 
below  the  surface,  a  larger  piece  of  the  yellow  sub 
stance  than  any  he  had  seen.  If  gold,  it  was  in  value 
equal  to  about  half  a  dollar.  As  he  examined  it  his 
heart  began  to  throb.  Could  it  indeed  be  gold!  Or 
was  it  only  mica,  or  sulphuret  of  copper,  or  other 
ignis  fatuus!  Marshall  was  no  metallurgist,  yet  he 
had  practical  sense  enough  to  know  that  gold  is  heavy 
and  malleable;  so  he  turned  it  over,  and  weighed  it  in 
his  hand;  then  he  bit  it;  and  then  he  hammered  it 
between  two  stones.  It  must  be  gold!  And  the 
mighty  secret  of  the  Sierra  stood  revealed  I 

Marshall  took  the  matter  coolly;  he  was  a  cool 
enough  man  except  where  his  pet  lunacy  was  touched. 
On  further  examination  he  found  more  of  the  metal. 

night  on  the  way,  which  Parsons  gives  him,  and  count  the  28th  one  day,  we 
have  the  24th  as  the  date  of  discovery,  trebly  proved. 
HIST.  CAL.,  VOL.  VI.    3 


He  went  to  his  companions  and  showed  it  to  them,  and 
they  collected  some  three  ounces  of  it,  flaky  and  in 
grains,  the  largest  piece  not  quite  so  large  as  a  pea, 
and  from  that  down  to  less  than  a  pin-head  in  size. 
Half  of  this  he  put  in  his  pouch,  and  two  days  later 
mounted  his  horse  and  rode  over  to  the  fort.19 

19  The  events  which  happened  at  Coloma  in  January  1848  are  described 
by  four  persons  who  were  actually  present.  These  are  Bigler,  Marshall,  and 
Wimmer  and  his  wife.  Of  these  Bigler  has  hitherto  given  nothing  to  the 
public  except  a  brief  letter  published  in  the  San  Francisco  Bulletin,  Dec.  31, 
1870.  To  me,  however,  he  kindly  presented  an  abstract  of  the  diary  which 
he  kept  at  the  time,  with  elaborations  and  comments,  and  which  I  esteem  as 
one  of  the  most  valuable  original  manuscripts  in  my  possession.  The  version 
given  in  this  diary  I  have  mainly  followed  in  the  text,  as  the  most  complete 
and  accurate  account.  The  others  wrote  from  memory,  long  after  the  event; 
and  it  is  to  be  feared  too  often  from  a  memory  distorted  by  a  desire  to  exalt 
their  respective  claims  to  an  important  share  in  the  discovery.  But  Bigler 
has  no  claims  of  this  kind  to  support.  He  was  not  present  when  the  first  parti 
cles  were  discovered,  nor  when  the  first  piece  was  picked  up  in  the  race; 
hence  of  these  incidents  he  says  little,  confining  himself  mostly  to  what  he  saw 
with  his  own  eyes.  Marshall  claims  to  have  been  alone  when  he  made  the 
discovery.  It  is  on  this  point  that  the  original  authorities  disagree.  Bigler 
says  Marshall  went  down  the  race  alone.  Mrs  Wimmer  and  her  husband  de 
clare  that  the  latter  was  with  Marshall,  and  saw  the  gold  at  the  same  moment, 
though  both  allow  that  Marshall  was  the  first  to  stoop  and  pick  it  up.  Later 
Mrs  Wimmer  is  allowed  to  claim  the  first  discovery  for  her  children,  who  show 
their  findings  to  their  father,  he  informing  Marshall,  or  at  least  enlightening 
him  as  to  the  nature  of  the  metal.  Marshall  tells  his  own  story  in  a  com 
munication  signed  by  him  and  published  in  Hutching  S*  May.,  ii.  199-201,  and 
less  fully  in  a  letter  to  C.  E.  Pickett,  dated  Jan.  28,  1856,  in  HitteWs  Hand- 
Book  of  Mining,  12;  Wiggins'  Rem.,  MS.,  17-18;  and  in  various  brief  accounts 
given  to  newspapers  and  interviewers.  Parsons'  Life  of  Marshall  is  based  on 
information  obtained  directly  from  the  discoverer,  and  must  ever  constitute  a 
leading  authority  on  the  subject.  P.  L.  Wimmer  furnished  a  brief  account  of 
the  discovery  to  the  Coloma  Argus  in  1855,  which  is  reprinted  in  HitteU's 
Mining,  13.  Mrs  Wimmer's  version,  the  result  of  an  interview  with  Mary  P. 
Winslow,  was  first  printed  in  the  8.  F.  Bulletin,  Dec.  19,  1874,  though  the 
substance  of  a  previous  interview  with  another  person  in  1852  is  given  in  the 
Gilroy  Advocate,  April  24,  1875.  Another  class  of  authorities,  as  important 
as  the  foregoing,  is  composed  of  those  who  were  the  first  to  hear  of  the  dis 
covery,  and  appeared  on  the  ground  immediately  afterward.  Foremost  among 
these  is  Sutter.  This  veteran  has  at  various  times  given  accounts  of  the  event 
to  a  number  of  persons,  the  best  perhaps  being  those  printed  by  J.  Tyrwhitt 
Brooks  in  his  Four  Months  among  the  Gold-finders,  40--71,  in  the  Gilroy  Advo 
cate  ot  Apr.  24,  1875,  and  in  the  Santa  Cruz  Sentinel,  July  17,  1875,  the  latter 
taken  from  the  Lancaster  Examiner.  Sutter's  most  complete  printed  narra 
tive  appears,  however,  in  Hutch-ings'  Mag. ,  ii.  194-8.  But  more  important 
than  any  of  these,  because  more  detailed  and  prepared  with  greater  care,  is 
the  version  contained  in  the  manuscript  entitled  Sutter's  Personal  Reminis 
cences,  which  I  personally  obtained  from  his  lips.  The  same  may  be  said  of 
those  given  in  the  manuscripts  of  John  Bidwell,  California  1841-8,  and  of 
Gregson,  Historical  Statement,  both  of  whom  were  at  New  Helvetia  when  the 
news  first  reached  there,  and  at  once  visited  Coloma.  Provoked  by  an  article 
in  the  Oregon  Bulletin,  with  not  very  flattering  reflections,  Samuel  Brannan 
made  a  statement  in  the  Calistoga  Tribune,  which  changed  matters  in  no  im 
portant  particular.  To  attempt  to  give  a  list  of  all  who  have  touched  upon 


Great  discoveries  stand  more  or  less  connected  with 
accident;  that  is  to  say,  accidents  which  are  sure  to 
happen.  Newton  was  not  seeking  the  law  of  gravi 
tation,  nor  Columbus  a  new  continent,  nor  Marshall 
gold,  when  these  things  were  thrust  upon  them.  And 
had  it  not  been  one  of  these,  it  would  have  been 
some  one  else  to  make  the  discovery.  Gold  fevers 
have  had  their  periodic  run  since  time  immemorial, 
when  Scythians  mined  the  Ural,  and  the  desert  of 
Gobi  lured  the  dwellers  on  the  Indus;  or  when  Ophir, 
the  goal  of  Phoenician  traders,  paled  before  the  splen 
dor  of  Apulia.  The  opening  of  America  caused  a  re 
vival  which  the  disclosures  by  Cortes  and  Pizarro 
turned  into  a  virulent  epidemic,  raging  for  centuries, 

the  discovery  of  gold  in  California  would  be  of  no  practical  benefit  to  any  one. 
Next  in  importance,  but  throwing  no  additional  light  upon  the  subject,  are 
those  in  Alta  CaL,  June  26,  1853,  May  5,  1872,  June  26,  1873,  and  Aug.  18 
and  19,  1874;  Hays'  Col.  Mining  Cal.,\.  1;  8.  F.  Bulletin,  Feb.  4,  1871,  Jan. 
12,  1872,  Oct.  21,  1879,  May  12,  1880;  Scientific  Press,  May  11, 1872;  Browned 
Resources,  14-15;  Batch's  Mines  and  Miners,  78;  Farnham's  Cat.,  354-6; 
London  Quarterly  Review,  xci.  507-8;  California  Past  and  Present,  73-105; 
Weik,  Cat.  wie  as  ist,  29-51;  Brooks'  Hist.,  534;  Mason's  Official  Rept;  Lar- 
kiit's  Letters,  to  Secy  State;  Robinson's  Gold  Region,  33-46;  Foster's  Gold 
Regions,  17-22;  Shinn's  Mining  Camps,  105-22;  Wiggins'  Rem.,  MS.,  17-18; 
Frost's  Hist.  CaL,  39-55;  Jenkins'  U.  S.  Expl.  Ex.',  43 1-2;  Oakland  Times, 
Mar.  6,  1880;  Revere's  Tour  of  Duty,  228-52;  Schlagintweit,  CaL,  216;  Wf*t 
Shore  Gaz.,  15;  SanJos6Pion.eer,Jan.  19,  1878;  Pfeiffer,  Second  Journey,  290, 
who  is  as  accurate  as  excursionists  generally  are;  Frignet,  Hist.  CaL,  79-80; 
Merced  People,  June  18,  1872;  Mining  Rev.  and  Slock  Ledger,  1878,  126; 
Barxtow's  Stat.,  MS.,  3;  Buffam's  Six  Months,  67-8;  Treasury  of  Travel,  92-4; 
Leivitt's  Scrap-Book;  Nevada  Gazette,  Jan.  22,  1868;  Holinski,  La  CaL,  144; 
Grass  Valley  Union,  April  19,  1870;  Sacramento  Illust.,  7;  Saxon's  Five  Years 
within  the  Golden  Gate;  Auger,  Voyage  en  Calif ornie,  149-56;  Annals  of  S.  F., 
130-2;  CaL  Assoc.  Pioneer,  First  Annual,  42;  Capron's  California,  184-5; 
Bennett's  Rec.,  MS.,  ii.  10-13.  I  have  hardly  thought  it  worth  while  to 
notice  the  stories  circulated  at  various  times  questioning  Marshall's  claim 
as  discoverer;  as,  for  example,  that  Wimmer,  or  his  boy,  as  before  mentioned, 
was  the  first  to  pick  up  gold;  or  that  a  native,  called  Indian  Jim,  observed 
the  shining  metal,  a  piece  as  large  as  a  brass  button,  which  he  gave  to  one  of 
the  workmen,  Sailor  Ike,  who  showed  it  to  Marshall.  Even  men  away  from 
the  spot  at  the  time  do  not  decline  the  honor.  Gregson  writes  in  his  State 
ment,  MS.,  9,  'we,  the  discoverers  of  gold,'  and  in  his  History  of  Stockton, 
73,  Tinkham  says:  'To  those  two  pioneers  of  1839  and  1841,  Captain  John 
A.  Sutter  and  Captain  Charles  M.  Weber,  belong  the  honor  of  discovering 
the  first  gold-fields  of  California,  and  to  them  the  state  owes  its  wonderful 
growth  and  prosperity.'  These  men  were  neither  of  them  the  discoverers  of 
gold  in  any  sense,  nor  were  they  the  builders  of  this  commonwealth.  Some 
have  claimed  that  the  Mormons  discovered  the  gold  at  Mormon  Island, 
before  Marshall  found  it  at  Coloma.  Bidwell  says  that  Brigham  Young  in 
1864  assured  him  that  this  was  the  case.  CaL  1841-8,  MS.,  214.  Such  man 
ifest  errors  and  misstatements  are  unworthy  of  serious  consideration.  There 
is  jiot  the  slightest  doubt  that  Marshall  was  the  discoverer. 


ever  stimulated  by  advancing  exploration  and  piratical 
adventure.  Every  step  northward  in  Mexico  con 
firmed  the  belief  in  still  richer  lands  beyond,  and  gave 
food  for  flaming  tales  like  those  told  by  Friar  Marcos 
de  Niza. 

Opinions  were  freely  expressed  upon  the  subject, 
some  of  them  taking  the  form  of  direct  assertions. 
These  merit  no  attention.  Had  ever  gold  been  found 
in  Marin  county,  we  might  accredit  the  statement  of 
Francis  Drake,  or  his  chaplain,  Fletcher,  that  they 
saw  it  there  in  1579.  As  it  is,  we  know  they  did  not 
see  it.  Many  early  writers  mention  gold  in  California, 
referring  to  Lower  California,  yet  leading  some  to 
confound  the  two  Californias,  and  to  suppose  that  the 
existence  of  the  rnetal  in  the  Sierra  foothills  was 
then  known.  Instance  Miguel  Venegas,  Shelvocke, 
and  others  of  the  seventeenth  and  eighteenth  centu 
ries,  and  early  encyclopaedia  makers.  It  has  always 
been  a  favorite  trick  of  navigators  to  speak  of  things 
they  either  greatly  feared  or  greatly  desired  as  exist 
ing.  Vizcaino,  Knight,  and  fifty  others  were  certain 
that  the  mountains  of  California  contained  gold.  The 
developments  along  the  Colorado  River  led  to  the 
same  conviction;  indeed,  it  was  widely  assumed  that 
the  Jesuits  knew  of  rich  mines  within  and  beyond 
their  precincts.  Count  Scala  claims  for  the  Russians 
of  Bodega  knowledge  of  gold  on  Yuba  River  as  early 
as  1815,  but  he  fails  to  support  the  assertion.  Dana 
and  other  professional  men  of  his  class  are  to  be  cen 
sured  for  what  they  did  not  see,  rather  than  praised 
for  the  wonderful  significance  of  certain  remarks. 
The  mine  at  San  Fernando,  near  Los  Angeles,  where 
wrorkwas  begun  in  1842,  is  about  the  only  satisfactory 
instance  on  record  of  a  knowledge  of  the  existence  of 
gold  in  Alta  California  prior  to  the  discovery  of  Mar 
shall.  And  this  was  indeed  a  clew  which  could  not 
have  failed  to  be  taken  up  in  due  time  by  some  one 
among  the  host  of  observant  fortune-hunters  now 
pouring  in,  and  forced  by  circumstances  into  the  for- 


ests  and  foothills  in  quest  of  slumbering  resources. 
The  Sierra  could  not  have  long  retained  her  secret.20 
The  discovery  by  Marshall  was  the  first  that  can 
be  called  a  California  gold  discovery,  aside  from  the 
petty  placers  found  in  the  southern  part  of  the  state. 
It  is  not  impossible  that  white  men  may  have  seen 
gold  in  the  Sierra  foothills  before  him.  This  region 
had  been  traversed  by  trappers,  by  emigrants,  and 
even  by  men  of  science;  but  if  they  saw  gold,  either 
they  did  not  know  it  or  they  did  not  reveal  it.  No 
sooner  was  the  discovery  announced  than  others 
claimed  to  have  been  previously  cognizant  of  the  fact; 
but  such  statements  are  not  admissible.  Most  of 
them  are  evident  fabrications;  as  for  the  rest,  not  one 
has  been  proved.  They  were  made  in  the  first  in 
stance,  as  a  rule,  to  deprive  Marshall  of  the  fame  of 
his  discovery,  and  they  failed 

20  Conspicuous  among  those  not  before  mentioned  are  the  opinions  general 
of  Arthur  Dobbs,  Samuel  Hearne,  Jonathan  Carver,  Duflot  de  Mofras,  Catala, 
Pickett,  Bid  well,  Larkin,  Bandini,  Osio;  the  statements  of  Antonio  de  Alcedo, 
Alvarado,  Vallejo,  Jedediah  Smith,  Blake,  Hastings,  and  others.  Herewith 
I  give  a  list  of  authorities  on  the  subject.  0*io,  Historia  de  California,  MS., 
506;  CaL  Dept.  St  Pap.,  viii.  6,  16,  etc.;  Larkin's  Of.  Cor.,  MS.,  i.  96;  Ban- 
dint,  Hist.  CaL,  MS.,  17-18;  Bidwell's  CaL  1841-8,  MS.,  214;  Vallejo,  Doc., 
MS.,  i.  140-1;  Dep.  Rec.,  MS.,  ix.  136;  Vallejo,  Notas  Hi*t6ricas,  MS.,  35; 
Cly man's  Diary,  MS.;  Davis''  Glimpses,  MS.,  149-50;  San  Diego,  Arch.  Index, 
MS.,  92;  Castanares,  Col.  Doc.  CaL,  MS.,  23;  Alvarado,  Hist.  CaL,  MS., 
i.  77,  and  iv.  161;  Galindo,  Apuntes,  MS.,  68-9;  Suiter's  Pers.  Obs.,  MS.,  171; 
Hall's  Sonora,  MS.,  252;  Castroville  Argus,  Sept.  7,  1872;  Robinson's  Life  in 
Cat.,  190;  Browne's  Min.  Res.,  13-16;  Monterey  Herald,  Oct.  15,  1875;  Bry 
ant's  CaL,  451;  Mex.,  Mem.  ReL,  1835,  no.  6;  Mofras,  Or.  et  CaL,  i.  137;  S. 
F.  Alta  CaL,  Mar.  28,  1857,  and  Jan.  28  and  May  18,  1878;  S.  F.  Herald, 
June  1,  1855;  Hesperian  Mag.,  vii.  560;  Drake's  Voy.;  Shelvocke's  Voy.; 
Dobls'  Hudson's  Bay;  Hardy's  Travels  in  Mex.,  331-2;  Dunbar's  Romance  of 
the  Age,  93-4;  Hughes'  CaL,  119;  Mendocino  Democrat,  Feb.  1,  1872;  Lake 
County  Bee,  Mar.  18,  1873;  Venegas,  Hist.  CaL,  i.  177-8;  Antioch  Ledger,  Feb. 
3,  1872;  Hittell's  Mining,  10-11;  Buf urn's  Six  Months,  45-6;  Walker's  Nar., 
11;  Merced  Argus,  Sept.  2,  1874;  Cronise's  Nat.  Wealth,  109;  Hayes'  Col. 
Mining  CaL,  i.  1;  S.  F.  Bulletin,  July  12  and  Oct.  1,  1860,  Aug.  14,  1865; 
Tuthill's  Hist.  CaJ.,231;  Gray's  Hist.  Or.,  364;  Dana's  Two  Years,  324;  Red 
Bluff  Ind.,  Jan.  17,  1866;  Hutchings'  Mag.,  v.  352;  Hunt's  Mer.  Mag.,  xxiv. 
768,  xxxi.  385-6,  xxxiv.  631-2;  CaL  Chronicle,  Jan.  28,  1856;  Dwindle,  Ad., 
1866,  28;  Reese  Riv.  Reveille,  Aug.  10,  1865,  and  Jan.  29,  1872;  Carson's  State. 
Reg.,  Jan.  27,  1862;  Elho Independent,  Jan.  15,  1870;  Sac  Union,  June  7, 
1861;  Scala,  Nouv.  An.  de*  Voy.,  clxiv.  388-90;  Quarterly  Rev.,  no.  87,  1850, 
416;  Gomez,  Lo  queSabe,  MS.,  228-9;  Hughs' California,  119;  Carson's  Rec., 
58-9;  Roberts'  Rec.,  MS.,  10;  Voile,  Doc.,  MS.,  57;  Dept.  St  Pap.,  MS.,  xii. 
63-5;  Requeiia,  Doc.t  MS.,  4-5;  Los  Angdes,  Arch.,  MS.,  v.  331. 


It  was  late  in  the  afternoon  of  the  28th  of  January 
when  Marshall  dismounted  at  New  Helvetia,21  entered 
the  office  where  Sutter  was  busy  writing,  and  abruptly 
requested  a  private  interview.  The  horseman  was 
dripping  wet,  for  it  was  raining.  Wondering  what 
could  have  happened,*  as  but  the  day  before  he  had 
sent  to  the  mill  all  that  was  required,  Sutter  led  the 
way  into  a  private  room.  "Are  you  alone?"  demanded 
the  visitor.  u  Yes,"  was  the  reply.  "  Did  you  lock 
the  door?"  "No,  but  I  will  if  you  wish  it."  "I 
want  two  bowls  of  water,"  said  Marshall.  Sutter 
rang  the  bell  and  the  bowls  were  brought.  "  Now  I 
want  a  stick  of  redwood,  and  some  twine,  and  some 
sheet  copper."  "  What  do  you  want  of  all  these 
things,  Marshall  ? "  "  To  make  scales."  "  But  I  have 
scales  enough  in  the  apothecary's  shop,"  said  Sutter; 
and  he  brought  a  pair.  Drawing  forth  his  pouch, 
Marshall  emptied  the  contents  into  his  hand,  and  held 
it  before  Sutter's  eyes,  remarking,  "  I  believe  this  is 
gold;  but  the  people  at  the  mill  laughed  at  me  and 
called  me  crazy."  Sutter  examined  the  stuff  atten 
tively,  and  finally  said:  "  It  certainly  looks  like  it;  we 
will  try  it."  First  aquafortis  was  applied;  and  the 
substance  stood  the  test.  Next  three  dollars  in  silver 
coin  were  put  into  one  of  the  scales,  and  balanced  by 
gold-dust  in  the  other.  Both  were  then  immersed  in 
water,  when  down  went  the  dust  and  up  the  silver  coin. 
Finally  a  volume  of  the  American  Encyclopaedia,  of 
which  the  fort  contained  a  copy,  was  brought  ont,  and 
the  article  on  gold  carefully  studied,  whereupon  all 
doubts  vanished.22 

2lDunbar,  Romance  of  the  Age,  48,  dates  the  arrival  at  the  fort  Feb.  2d, 
and  intimates  that  the  discovery  was  made  the  same  morning.  According  to 
Parsons,  Marshall  reached  the  fort  about  9  o'clock  in  the  morning,  having  left 
Coloma  the  day  before,  and  passed  the  preceding  night  under  a  tree.  On  the 
journey  he  discovered  gold  in  a  ravine  in  the  foothills,  and  also  at  the  place 
afterward  called  Mormon  Island,  while  examining  the  river  for  a  lumber-yard 
site.  Life  of  Marshall,  84.  Sutter,  however,  both  in  his  Diary  and  in  his  Rem 
iniscences,  says  that  Marshall  arrived  at  the  fort  in  the  afternoon.  Marshall 
himself  makes  no  mention  of  discovering  gold  on  the  journey. 

22  Sutter's  Pers.  Rem. ,  MS. ,  163-7.  In  my  conferences  with  Sutter,  at  Litiz, 
I  endeavored  to  draw  from  him  every  detail  respecting  the  interview  here 


Marshall  proposed  that  S utter  should  return  with 
him  to  the  mill  that  night,  but  the  latter  declined, 
saying  that  he  would  be  over  the  next  day.  It  was 
now  supper-time,  and  still  drizzling;  would  not  the  vis 
itor  rest  himself  till  morning  ?  No,  he  must  be  off 
immediately;  and  without  even  waiting  to  eat,  he 
wrapped  his  sarape  about  him,  mounted  his  horse,  and 
rode  off  into  the  rain  and  darkness.  Sutter  slept  little 
that  night.  Though  he  knew  nothing  of  the  magni 
tude  of  the  affair,  and  did  not  fully  realize  the  evils  he 
had  presently  to  face,  yet  he  felt  there  would  soon  be 
enough  of  the  fascination  abroad  to  turn  the  heads  of 
his  men,  and  to  disarrange  his  plans.  In  a  word,  with 
prophetic  eye,  as  he  expressed  himself  to  me,  he  saw 
that  night  the  curse  of  the  thing  upon  him. 

On  the  morning  of  the  29th  of  January23  Sutter 

presented  in  a  condensed  form.  Some  accounts  assert  that  when  Marshall 
desired  the  door  to  be  locked  Sutter  was  frightened,  and  looked  about  for  his 
gun.  The  general  assured  me  this  was  riot  the  case.  Neither  was  the  mind 
of  Marshall  wrought  into  such  a  fever  as  many  represent.  His  manner  was 
hurried  and  excited,  but  he  was  sane  enough.  He  was  peculiar,  and  he  wished 
to  despatch  this  business  and  be  back  at  the  mill.  Barstow,  in  his  Statement, 
MS.,  3,  asserts  that  lie  did  not  rush  down  to  the  fort,  but  waited  until  he  had 
business  there.  All  the  evidence  indicates  that  neither  Marshall  nor  Sutter 
had  any  idea,  as  yet,  of  the  importance  of  the  discovery.  How  could  they 
have  ?  There  might  not  be  more  than  a  handful  of  gold-dust  in  the  whole 
Sierra,  from  any  fact  thus  far  appearing.  See  BidwelCs  California  1841-8, 
MS.,  230;  Bi'jler's  Diary,  MS.,  64;  Brooks' Four  Months,  40-3;  Par  tons'  Life 
of  Marshall,  84-5;  Hatchings'  Mag.,  ii.  194.  Gregson,  Statement,  MS.,  8, 
blacksmithing  for  Sutter  when  Marshall  arrived,  saw  the  gold  in  a  greenish 
ounce  vial,  about  half  rilled.  Bigler  gives  Marshall's  own  words,  as  repeated 
on  his  return  to  the  mill.  In  every  essential  particular  his  account  corresponds 
with  that  given  to  me  by  Sutter. 

23  The  day  on  which  Sutter  followed  Marshall  to  Coloma  is  questioned.  In 
his  Reminiscences,  and  his  statement  in  Hutching*'  Magazine,  Sutter  distinctly 
says  that  he  left  for  the  saw-mill  at  seven  o'clock  on  the  morning  after  Mar 
shall's  visit  to  the  fort;  but  in  his  Diary  is  written  Feb.  1st,  which  would  be 
the  fourth  day  after  the  visit.  Bigler,  in  his  Diary,  says  that  Sutter  reached 
the  mill  on  the  third  or  fourth  day  after  Marshall's  return.  Marshall 
shows  his  usual  carelessness,  or  lack  of  memory,  by  stating  that  Sutter 
reached  Coloma  'about  the  20th  of  February.'  Discovery  of  Gold,  in  Hutching*' 
M«g.,  ii.  201.  Parsons  is  nearly  as  far  wrong  in  saying  that  Sutter  'returned 
with  Marshall  to  Coloma.'  Life  of  Marshall,  86.  Mrs  Wimmer  also  says  that 
*  Sutter  came  right  up  with  Marshall. '  This  is  indeed  partly  true,  as  Marshall 
in  his  restlessness  went  back  to  meet  Sutter,  and  of  course  came  into  camp 
with  him.  On  the  whole,  I  have  determined  to  follow  Sutter's  words  to  me, 
as  I  know  them  to  be  as  he  gave  them.  If  Sutter  did  not  set  out  until  Feb. 
1st,  then  Marshall  did  not  reach  the  mill  until  the  31st  of  January,  else  Sut 
ter's  whole  statement  is  erroneous. 


started  for  the  saw-mill.  When  half-way  there, 
or  more,  he  saw  an  object  moving  in  the  bushes 
at  one  side.  "  What  is  that  ?  "  demanded  Sutter  of 
his  attendant.  "  The  man  who  was  with  you  yester 
day,"  was  the  reply.  It  was  still  raining.  "  Have 
you  been  here  all  night?"  asked  Sutter  of  Marshall ;  for 
it  wras  indeed  he.  "  No,"  Marshall  said,  "  I  slept  at 
the  mill,  and  came  back  to  meet  you."  As  they  rode 
along  Marshall  expressed  the  opinion  that  the  whole 
country  was  rich  in  gold.  Arrived  at  the  mill,  Sutter 
took  up  his  quarters  at  a  house  Marshall  had  lately 
built  for  himself,  a  little  way  up  the  mountain,  and 
yet  not  far  from  the  mill.  During  the  night  the  water 
ran  in  the  race,  and  in  the  morning  it  was  shut  off. 
All  present  then  proceeded  down  the  channel,  and 
jumping  into  it  at  various  points  began  to  gather 
gold.24  With  some  contributions  by  the  men,  added 
to  what  he  himself  picked  up,  Sutter  secured  enough 
for  a  ring  weighing  an  ounce  and  a  half,  which  he  soon 
after  exhibited  with  great  pride  as  a  specimen  of  the 
first  gold.  A  private  examination  by  the  partners  up 
the  river  disclosed  gold  all  along  its  course,  and  in  the 
tributary  ravines  and  creeks.25 

Sutter  regarded  the  discovery  as  a  misfortune. 
Without  laborers  his  extensive  works  must  come  to 
a  stop,  presaging  ruin.  Gladly  would  he  have  shut 
the  knowledge  from  the  world,  for  a  time,  at  least. 
With  the  men  at  the  mill  the  best  he  could  do  was  to 
make  them  promise  to  continue  their  work,  and  say 
nothing  of  the  gold  discovery  for  six  weeks,  by  which 
time  he  hoped  to  have  his  flour-mill  completed,  and 

2*Bigler,  Diary,  MS.,  65-6,  gives  a  joke  which  they  undertook  to.  play  on 
the  Old  Cap,  as  Marshall  called  Sutter.  This  was  nothing  less  than  to  salt 
the  mine  in  order  that  Sutter  in  his  excitement  might  pass  the  bottle.  Wim- 
mer's  boy,  running  on  before,  picked  up  the  gold  scattered  in  the  race  for  the 
harmless  surprising  of  Sutter,  and  thus  spoiled  their  sport. 

25  Indeed,  Sutter  claims  that  he  picked  with  a  small  knife  from  a  dry  gorge 
a  solid  lump  weighing  nearly  an  ounce  and  a  half,  and  regarded  the  tributaries 
as  the  richer  sources.  The  work-people  obtained  an  inkling  of  their  discovery, 
although  they  sought  henceforth  to  dampen  the  interest.  One  of  the  Indiana 
who  seems  to  have  worked  in  a  southern  mine  published  his  knowledge.  Pers. 
Hem.,  MS. 


his  other  affairs  so  arranged  as  to  enable  him  to  with 
stand  the  result.  The  men,  indeed,  were  not  yet 
prepared  to  relinquish  good  wages  for  the  uncertain 
ties  of  gold-gathering. 

If  only  the  land  could  be  secured  on  which  this 
gold  was  scattered — for  probably  it  did  not  extend  far 
in  any  direction — then  interloping  might  be  prevented, 
mining  controlled,  and  the  discovery  made  profitable. 
It  was  worth  trying,  at  all  events.  Mexican  grants 
being  no  longer  possible,  Sutter  began  by  opening 
negotiations  with  the  natives,  after  the  mariner  of  the 
English  colonists  on  the  other  side  of  the  continent. 
Calling  a  council  of  the  Culumas  and  some  of  their 
neighbors,  the  lords  aboriginal  of  those  lands,  Sutter 
and  Marshall  obtained  from  them  a  three  years'  lease 
of  a  tract  some  ten  or  twelve  miles  square,  on  payment 
of  some  shirts,  hats,  handkerchiefs,  flour,  and  other 
articles  of  no  great  value,  the  natives  meanwhile  to 
be  left  unmolested  in  their  homes.26  Sutter  then  re 
turned  to  New  Helvetia,  and  the  great  discovery  was 

26  BiylerJ  Diary,  MS.,  66.  Marshall  speaks  of  this  as  the  consummation 
of  '  an  agreement  we  had  made  with  this  tribe  of  Indians  in  the  month  of 
September  previous,  to  wit,  that  we  should  live  with  them  in  peace  on  the 
same  laud. '  Discovery  of  Gold,  in  Hatchings'  Mag. ,  ii.  200. 


FEBRUARY,  1848. 




OCCASIONALLY  instances  occur  where  one's  destiny, 
hitherto  seemingly  confined  in  the  clouds,  is  let  out 
in  a  flood,  and  if  weak,  the  recipient  is  overwhelmed 
and  carried  down  the  stream  by  it;  if  he  be  strong, 
and  makes  avail  of  it,  his  fortune  is  secured;  in  any 
event,  it  is  his  opportunity. 

Opportunity  here  presented  itself  in  the  first  in 
stance  to  a  chosen  dozen,  none  of  whom  appear  to 
have  taken  due  advantage  of  it.  Having  no  realiza 
tion  of  their  situation,  they  left  the  field  to  after- 
comers,  who  by  direct  or  indirect  means  drew  fortune 
from  it.  The  chief  actors,  Marshall  and  Sutter,  with 
proportionately  greater  interests  at  stake,  primarily 
displayed  no  more  skill  than  the  others  in  making  avail 
of  opportunity,  the  former  drifting  away  without  one 
successful  grasp,  the  latter  making  a  brief  stand 
against  the  torrent,  only  in  the  end  to  sink  amidst  the 
ruins  of  his  projects  and  belongings. 


Sutter  disclosed  his  weakness  in  several  ways.  Al 
though  enjoining  secrecy  upon  all  concerned,  and  show 
ing  extreme  fear  lest  the  discovery  should  be  known  by 
those  about  him,  the  inconstant  Swiss  could  not  him 
self  resist  the  temptation  of  telling  it  to  his  friends  at 
a  distance.  Writing  Vallejo  the  10th  of  February, 
he  says:  "I  have  made  a  discovery  of  a  gold  mine, 
which,  according  to  experiments  we  have  made,  is  ex 
traordinarily  rich."1  Moreover,  not  wholly  satisfied 
with  his  Indian  title,  Sutter  determined  to  despatch  a 
messenger  to  Monterey,  for  the  purpose  of  further 
securing  the  land  to  himself  and  Marshall  through 
Colonel  R.  B.  Mason,  chief  representative  of  the 
United  States  government  in  California.  For  this 
mission  was  chosen  Charles  Bennett,  one  of  Marshall's 
associates,  and  standing  next  to  him  in  intelligence 
and  ability  at  the  saw-mill.  The  messenger  was  in 
structed  to  say  nothing  about  the  discovery  of  gold, 
but  to  secure  the  land  with  mill,  pasture,  and  mineral 
privileges,  giving  as  a  reason  for  including  the  last 
the  appearance  of  lead  and  silver  in  the  soil.2  The 
man,  however,  was  too  weak  for  the  purpose.  With 
him  in  a  buckskin  bag  he  carried  some  six  ounces  of 
the  secret,  which,  by  the  time  he  reached  Benicia, 
became  too  heavy  for  him.  There,  in  Pfister's  store, 
hearing  it  said  that  coal  had  been  found  near  Monte 
del  Diablo,  and  that  in  consequence  California  would 
assume  no  small  importance  in  the  eyes  of  her  new 
owners,  Bennett  could  contain  himself  no  longer. 
"Coal!"  he  exclaimed;  "I  have  something  here  which 
will  beat  coal,  and  make  this  the  greatest  country  in 
the  world."  Whereupon  he  produced  his  bag,  and 
passed  it  around  among  his  listeners.3 

1  The  accomplished  potentate  writes  every  man  in  his  own  language,  though 
his  Spanish  is  not  much  better  than  his  English.  "  Y  he  hecho  un  descubri- 
miento  de  mina  de  oro,  qe  sigun  hemos  esperimentado  es  extraordinarimente 
rica.'  Vallejo,  Docs,  MS.,  xii.  332. 

2 This  on  the  authority  of  Bigler.  Diary  of  a  Mormon,  MS.,  66.  Some 
say  that  Bennett  held  contracts  with  Marshall  under  Sutter.  HunCs  Mer.  Mag., 
xx.  59;  but  for  this  there  is  no  good  authority.  He  set  out  for  Monterey 
toward  the  middle  of  February. 

3  Several  claim  the  honor  of  carrying  the  first  gold  beyond  the  precincts  of 


On  reaching  San  Francisco  Bennett  heard  of  one 
Isaac  Humphrey,  who, among  other  things,  knew  some 
thing  of  gold-mining.  He  had  followed  that  occupa 
tion  in  Georgia,  but  hardly  expected  his  talents  in 
that  direction  to  be  called  in  requisition  in  California. 
Bennett  sought  an  introduction,  and  again  brought 
forth  his  purse.  Thus  Sutter's  secret  was  in  a  tine 
way  of  being  kept  I  Humphrey  at  once  pronounced 
the  contents  of  the  purse  to  be  gold.  At  Monterey 
Mason  declined  to  make  any  promise  respecting  title  to 
lands,4  and  Bennett  consoled  himself  for  the  failure  of 
his  mission  by  offering  further  glimpses  of  his  treasure. 

In  order  to  prevent  a  spreading  infection  among 
his  dependents,  Sutter  determined  that  so  far  as  pos 
sible  all  communication  with  the  saw-mill  should  for 
the  present  be  stopped.  Toward  the  latter  end  of 
February,  however,  he  found  it  necessary  to  send 
thither  provisions.5  To  a  Swiss  teamster,  as.  a  per- 

the  California  Valley.  Bidwell,  California  1841-8,  MS.,  231,  says  he  was 
the  first  to  proclaim  the  news  in  Sonoma  and  S.  F.  '  I  well  remember  Vallejo's 
words,'  he  writes,  'when  I  told  him  of  the  discovery  and  where  it  had  taken 

§lace.  He  said,  "As  the  water  flows  through  Sutter's  mill-race,  may  the  gold 
ow  into  Sutter's  purse. " '  This  must  have  been  after  or  at  the  time  of  Ben 
nett's  journey;  I  do  not  think  it  preceded  it.  Bidwell  calls  the  chief  ruler  at 
Monterey  Gov.  Riley,  instead  of  Col  Mason;  and  if  his  memory  is  at  fault 
upon  so  conspicuous  a  point,  he  might  easily  overlook  the  fact  that  Bennett 
preceded  him.  Furthermore,  we  have  many  who  speak  of  meeting  Bennett  at 
S.  F.,  and  of  examining  his  gold,  but  not  one  who  mentions  Bid  well's  name 
in  that  connection.  Sutter  was  adopting  a  singular  course,  certainly,  to  have 
his  secret  kept.  Gregson,  Stat.,  MS.,  8,  thinks  that  the  first  gold  was  taken  by 
McKinstry  in  Sutter's  launch  to  S.  F.,  and  there  delivered  to  Folsom.  Such 
statements  as  the  following,  though  made  in  good  faith,  amount  to  little  in 
determining  as  to  the  first.  That  first  seen  or  known  by  a  person  to  him  is  first, 
notwithstanding  another's  first  may  have  been  prior  to  his.  '  1  saw  the  first 
gold  that  was  brought  down  to  S.  F.  It  was  in  Howard  &  Mellus'  store, 
and  in  their  charge.  It  was  in  four-ounce  vial,  or  near  that  size.'  Ayer's  Per 
sonal  Adv.,  MS.,  2. 

*  Sherman,  Memoirs,  i.  40,  states  that  this  application  was  made  by  two 
persons,  from  which  one  might  infer  that  Humphrey  accompanied  Bennett 
to  Monterey.  They  there  displayed  'about  half  an  ounce  of  placer  gold.' 
They  presented  a  letter  from  Sutter,  to  which  Mason  replied  '  that  Califor 
nia  was  yet  a  Mexican  province,  simply  held  by  us  as  a  conquest;  that  no  laws 
of  the  U.  S.  yet  applied  to  it,  much  less  the  land  laws  or  preemption  laws, 
which  could  only  apply  after  a  public  survey.'  See,  further,  Buff  am' 8  Six 
Months  in  Gold  Mines,  68;  Bigler' s  Diary  of  a  Mormon,  MS.,  66;  BidwelVs  Cal 
ifornia  1841-8,  MS.,  231;  Browne's  Min.  Res.,  14;  HitteLVs  JJist.  S.  F.,  125. 
Gregson,  Stat.,  MS.,  says  that  Bennett  died  in  Oregon. 

6  '  We  had  salt  salmon  and  boiled  wheat,  and  we,  the  discoverers  of  gold, 


son  specially  reliable,  this  mission  was  intrusted. 
The  man  would  indeed  die  rather  than  betray  any 
secret  of  his  kind  countryman  and  master;  but  alas  I 
he  loved  intoxication,  that  too  treacherous  felicity. 
Arrived  at  Coloma,  the  teamster  encountered  one  of 
the  Wimmer boys,  who  exclaimed  triumphantly,  "We 
have  found  gold  up  here."  The  teamster  so  ridiculed 
the  idea  that  the  mother  at  length  became  some 
what  nettled,  and  to  prove  her  son  truthful,  she  not 
only  produced  the  stuff,  but  gave  some  to  the  teamster. 
Returned  to  the  fort,  his  arduous  duty  done,  the  man 
must  have  a  drink.  Often  he  had  tried  at  Smith  and 
Brannan's  store  to  quench  his  thirst  from  the  whis- 
kay  barrel,  and  pay  for  the  same  in  promises.  On 
this  occasion  he  presented  at  the  counter  a  bold  front 
and  demanded  a  bottle  of  the  delectable,  at  the  same 
time  laying  down  the  dust.  "  What  is  that?  "  asked 
Smith.  "  Gold,"  was  the  reply.  Smith  thought  the 
fellow  was  quizzing  him;  nevertheless  he  spoke  of  it 
to  Sutter,  who  finally  acknowledged  the  fact.8 

About  the  time  of  Bennett's  departure  Sutter's 
schooner  went  down  the  river,  carrying  specimens  of 
the  new  discovery,  and  Folsom,  the  quartermaster  in 
San  Francisco,  learned  of  the  fact,  informed,  it  is  said, 
by  McKinstry.  Then  John  Bidwell  went  to  the  Bay 
and  spread  the  news  broadcast.  Smith,  store-keeper 
at  the  fort,  sent  word  of  it  to  his  partner,  Brannan; 
and  thus  by  various  ways  the  knowledge  became  gen 

It  was  not  long  before  the  saw-mill  society,  which 
numbered  among  its  members  one  woman  and  two 

were  living  on  that  when  gold  was  found,  and  we  were  suffering  from  scurvy 
afterward.'  Gregson's  Statement,  MS.,  9.  An  infliction  this  man  might  un 
dergo  almost  anywhere,  being,  if  like  his  manuscript,  something  of  a  scurvy 
fellow.  Mark  the  'we,  the  discoverers  of  gold,'  before  noticed.  Gregson 
•was  not  at  the  mill  when  gold  was  found. 

6  '  I  should  have  sent  my  Indians,'  groaned  Sutter  28  years  afterward.  It 
soems  that  the  gentle  Swiss  always  found  his  beloved  aboriginals  far  less 
treacherous  than  the  white-skinned  parasites.  See  Suiter's  Rem. ,  MS. ,  171-3; 
Inter  Pocula,  this  series;  Hutchings*  Mag. ,  ii.  196;  Dunbar^s  Romance  of  the 


boys,  found  the  matter,  in  common  with  the  others, 
too  weighty  for  them.  For  a  time  affairs  here  pro 
ceeded  much  as  usual.  The  men,  who  for  the  most 
part  were  honest  and  conscientious,  had  pledged  their 
word  to  six  weeks'  work,  and  they  meant  to  keep  it. 
The  idea  of  self-sacrifice,  if  any  such  arose,  was  tem 
pered  by  the  thought  that  perhaps  after  all  there  was 
but  little  gold,  and  that  little  confined  within  narrow 
limits;  hence  if  they  abandoned  profitable  service  for 
an  uncertainty,  they  might  find  themselves  losers  in 
the  end.  As  a  matter  of  course,  they  could  have  no 
conception  of  the  extent  and  power  of  the  spirit  they 
had  awakened.  It  was  not  necessary,  however,  that 
on  Sundays  they  should  resist  the  worship  of  Mam 
mon,  who  was  indeed  now  fast  becoming  the  chief  god 

The  historic  tail-race,  where  first  in  these  parts  be 
came  incarnate  this  deity,  more  potent  presently  than 
either  Christ  or  Krishna,  commanded  first  attention; 
indeed,  for  some  time  after  gold  had  been  found  in 
other  places,  it  remained  the  favorite  picking-ground 
of  the  mill-men.  Their  only  tools  as  yet  were  their 
knives,  and  with  these  from  the  seams  and  crevices 
each  person  managed  to  extract  metal  at  the  rate  of 
from  three  to  eight  dollars  a  day.  For  the  purpose 
of  calculating  their  gains,  they  constructed  a  light 
pair  of  wooden  scales,  in  which  was  weighed  silver 
coin  against  their  gold.  Thus,  a  Mexican  real  de 
plata  was  balanced  by  two  dollars'  worth  of  gold, 
which  they  valued  at  sixteen  dollars  the  ounce,  less 
than  it  was  really  worth,  but  more  than  could  be  ob 
tained  for  it  in  the  mines  a  few  months  later.  Gold- 
dust  which  balanced  a  silver  quarter  of  a  dollar  was 
deemed  worth  four  dollars,  and  so  on. 

On  the  6th  of  February,  the  second  Sunday  after 
Marshall's  discovery,  while  the  others  were  as! 
busied  in  the  tail-race,  Henry  Bigler  and  James  Bar- 
ger  crossed  the  river,  and  from  a  bare  rock  opposite 
the  mill,  with  nothing  but  their  pocket-knives,  ob- 


tained  together  gold  to  the  value  of  ten  dollars.  The 
Saturday  following,  Bigler  descended  the  river  half  a 
mile,  when,  seeing  on  the  other  side  some  rocks  left 
bare  by  a  land-slide,  he  stripped  and  crossed.  There, 
in  the  seams  of  the  rocks,  were  particles  of  the  pre 
cious  stuff  exposed  to  view,  of  which  the  next  day  he 
gathered  half  an  ounce,  and  the  Sunday  following  an 
ounce.  Snow  preventing  work  at  the  mill,  on  Tues 
day,  the  22d,  he  set  out  for  the  same  place,  and  ob 
tained  an  ounce  and  a  half.  Up  to  this  time  he  had 
kept  the  matter  to  himself,  carrying  with  him  a  gun 
on  pretext  of  shooting  ducks,  in  order  to  divert  suspi 
cion.  Questioned  closely  on  this  occasion,  he  told  his 
comrades  what  he  had  been  doing,  and  the  following 
Sunday  five  of  them  accompanied  him  to  the  same 
spot,  and  spent  the  day  hunting  in  the  sand.  All 
were  well  rewarded.  In  the  opposite  direction  suc 
cess  proved  no  less  satisfactory.  Accompanied  by 
James  Gregson,  Marshall  ascended  the  river  three 
miles;  and  at  a  place  which  he  named  Live  Oak  Bar, 
if  we  may  believe  Gregson,  they  picked  up  with  their 
fingers  without  digging  a  pint  of  gold,  in  pieces  up  to 
the  size  of  a  bean.7  Thus  was  gradually  enlarged  the 
area  of  the  gold-field 

About  the  21st  of  February,  Bigler  wrote  to  certain 
of  his  comrades  of  the  Mormon  battalion — Jesse  Mar 
tin,  Israel  Evans,  and  Ephraim  Green,  who  were  at 
work  on  Sutter's  flour-mill — informing  them  of  the 
discovery  of  gold,  and  charging  them  to  keep  it  secret, 
or  to  tell  it  to  those  only  who  could  be  trusted.  The 
result  was  the  arrival,  on  the  evening  of  the  27th,  of 
three  men,  Sidney  Willis,  Fiefield,  and  Wilford  Hud- 

1  Statement  of  James  Gregson,  MS.,  passim.  The  author  was  an  English 
man,  who  came  to  California  in  1845  and  engaged  with  Sutter  as  a  whip- 
sawyer.  Lumber  then  cost  $30  a  thousand  at  Sutter's  Fort.  He  served  in 
the  war,  and  after  the  discovery  of  gold  went  to  Coloma,  accompanied  by  his 
wife.  Throwing  up  his  engagement  with  Marshall,  he  secured  that  year 
$3,000  in  gold-dust.  Sutter  appears  to  have,  in  February,  already  set  some 
Indians  to  pick  gold  round  the  mill.  His  claim  to  this  ground  was  long 



son,  who  said  they  had  come  to  search  for  gold. 
Marshall  received  them  graciously  enough,  and  gave 
them  permission  to  mine  in  the  tail-race.  Accord 
ingly,  next  morning  they  all  went  there,  and  soon 
Hudson  picked  up  a  piece  weighing  six  dollars.  Thus 
encouraged  they  continued  their  labors  with  fair 
success  till  the  2d  of  March,  when  they  felt  obliged 
to  return  to  the  flour-mill;  for  to  all  except  Martin, 
their  informant,  they  had  intimated  that  their  trip  to 

,JLV     i&dMmk 

X  '  ^NVA.V'^  '.}',':,, .'     .\n''t:t, ,'/-/'/, 


the  saw-mill  was  merely  to  pay  a  visit,  and  to  shoot 
deer.  Willis  and  Hudson  followed  the  stream  to  con 
tinue  the  search  for  gold,  and  Fiefield,  accompanied 
by  Bigler,  pursued  the  easier  route  by  the  road.  On 
meeting  at  the  flour-mill,  Hudson  expressed  disgust 
at  being  able  to  show  only  a  few  fine  particles,  not 
more  than  half  a  dollar  in  value,  which  he  and  his 
companion  had  found  at  a  bar  opposite  a  little  island, 
about  half-way  down  the  river.  Nevertheless  the 
disease  worked  its  way  into  the  blood  of  other  Mor- 


mon  boys,  and  Ephraim  Green  and  Ira  Willis,  brother 
of  Sidney  Willis,  urged  the  prospectors  to  return, 
that  together  they  might  examine  the  place  which 
had  shown  indications  of  gold.  It  was  with  difficulty 
that  they  prevailed  upon  them  to  do  so.  Willis  and 
Hudson,  however,  finally  consented;  and  the  so  lately 
slighted  spot  presently  became  famous  as  the  rich 
Mormon  Diggings,  the  island,  Mormon  Island,  taking 
its  name  from  these  battalion  boys  who  had  first 
found  gold  there. 

It  is  told  elsewhere  how  the  Mormons  came  to 
California,  some  in  the  ship  Brooklyn,  and  some  as  a 
battalion  by  way  of  Santa  Fe,  and  how  they  went 
hence  to  the  Great  Salt  Lake,  part  of  them,  however, 
remaining  permanently  or  for  a  time  nearer  the  sea 
board.  I  will  only  notice  here,  amidst  the  scenes 
now  every  day  becoming  more  and  more  absorbing, 
bringing  to  the  front  the  strongest  passions  in  man's 
nature,  how  at  the  call  of  what  they  deemed  duty 
these  devotees  of  their  religion  unhesitatingly  laid 
down  their  wealth-winning  implements,  turned  their 
back  on  what  all  the  world  was  just  then  making 
ready  with  hot  haste  and  mustered  strength  to  grasp 
at  and  struggle  for,  and  marched  through  new  toils  and 
dangers  to  meet  their  exiled  brethren  in  the  desert. 

It  will  be  remembered  that  some  of  the  emigrants 


by  the  Brooklyn  had  remained  at  San  Francisco,  some 
at  New  Helvetia,  while  others  had  settled  on  the 
Stanislaus  River  and  elsewhere.  A  large  detachment 
of  the  late  Mormon  battalion,  disbanded  at  Los  An 
geles,  was  on  its  way  to  Great  Salt  Lake,  when,  arriv 
ing  at  Sutter's  Fort,  the  men  stopped  to  work  a  while, 
no  less  to  add  a  little  to  their  slender  store  of  clothing 
and  provisions  than  to  await  a  better  season  for  the 
perilous  journey  across  the  mountains.  It  was  while 
thus  employed  that  gold  had  been  discovered.  And 
now,  refreshed  and  better  fitted,  as  spring  approached 
their  minds  once  more  turned  toward  the  original  pur- 

HIST.  CAL..  VOL.  VI.    4 


pose.  They  had  promised  Suiter  to  stand  by  him  and 
finish  the  saw-mill;  this  they  did,  starting  it  running" 
on  the  llth  of  March.  Henry  Bigler  was  still  there. 

On  the  7th  of  April  Bigler,  Stephens,  and  Brown 
presented  themselves  at  the  fort  to  settle  accounts 
with  Sutter,  and  discuss  preliminaries  for  their  jour 
ney  with  their  comrades.  The  1st  of  June  was  fixed 
upon  for  the  start.  Sutter  was  to  be  informed  of 
their  intention,  that  he  might  provide  other  workmen. 
Horses,  cattle,  and  seeds  were  to  be  bought  from  him ; 
also  two  brass  cannon.  Three  of  their  number  had 
to  precede  to  pioneer  a  route ;  eight  men  were  ready 
to  start  as  an  overland  express  to  the  States,  as  the 
loved  land  east  of  the  Mississippi  was  then  called.  It 
was  not,  however,  until  about  a  month  later  that  the 
Mormons  could  move,  for  the  constantly  increasing 
gold  excitement  disarranged  their  plans  and  drew 
from  their  numbers. 

In  the  mean  time  the  thrifty  saints  determined  to 
improve  the  opportunity,  that  they  might  carry  to 
their  desert  rest  as  much  of  the  world's  currency  as 
possible.  On  the  llth  of  April,  Bigler,  Brown,  and 
Stephens  set  out  on  their  return  to  Coloma,  camping 
fifteen  miles  above  the  flouring  mill,  on  a  creek.  In 
the  morning  they  began  to  search  for  gold  and  found 
ten  dollars'  worth.  Knowing  that  others  of  their 
fraternity  were  at  work  in  that  vicinity,  they  followed 
the  stream  upward  and  came  upon  them  at  Mormon 
Island,  where  seven  had  taken  out  that  day  $250.8 
No  little  encouragement  was  added  by  this  hitherto 
unparalleled  yield,  due  greatly  to  an  improvement  in 
method  by  washing  the  dust-speckled  earth  in  Indian 
baskets  and  bowls,  and  thus  sifting  out  also  finer  parti 
cles.  Under  an  agreement  to  divide  the  product  of 

8  The  seven  men  were  Sidney  Willis  and  Wilford  Hudson,  who  had  first 
found  gold  there,  Ira  Willis,  Jesse  B.  Martin,  Ephraim  Green,  Israel  Evans, 
and  James  Sly.  In  regard  to  the  names  of  the  last  two  Bigler  is  not  positive. 
Diary  of  a  Mormon,  MS.,  76.  See  also  Mendocino  Democrat,  Feb.  1,  1872; 
HitteWs  Mining,  14;  Sherman's  Mem.,  i.  51;  Gold  Dis.,  Account  by  a  Mormon, 
in  Hayes'  CaL  Mining,  iii.  8;  Oregon  Bulletin,  Jan.  12,  1872;  Antioch  Ledger, 
Feb.  3,  1872;  ftndla's  Stat.,  MS.,  6;  7?oss'  StcU.,  MS.,  14. 


their  labor  with  Sutter  and  Marshall,  who  furnished 
tools  and  provisions,  Bigler  and  his  associates  mined 
for  two  months,  one  mile  below  the  saw-mill.9  They 
stopped  in  the  midst  of  their  success,  however,  arid 
tearing  themselves  away  from  the  fascination,  they 
started  on  June  17th  in  search  of  a  suitable  rendez 
vous,  where  all  the  saints  might  congregate  prior  to 
beginning  their  last  pilgrimage  across  the  mountains. 
They  found  such  a  spot  the  next  day,  near  where 
Placerville  now  stands,  calling  it  Pleasant  Valley. 
Parties  arrived  one  after  another,  some  driving  loose 
horses  into  a  prepared  timber  corral,  others  swelling 
the  camp  with  wagons,  cattle,  and  effects;  and  so  the 
gathering  continued  till  the  3d  of  July,  when  a  gen 
eral  move  was  made.  As  the  wagons  rolled  up  along 
the  divide  between  the  American  River  and  the 
Cosunines  on  the  national  4th,  their  cannon  thundered 
independence  before  the  high  Sierra.  It  was  a  strange 
sight,  exiles  for  their  faith  thus  delighting  to  honor 
the  power  that  had  driven  them  as  outcasts  into  the 

The  party  consisted  of  forty-five  men  and  one 
woman,  the  wife  of  William  Coory.  It  was  by  almost 
incredible  toil  that  these  brave  men  cut  the  way  for 
their  wagons,  lifted  them  up  the  stony  ascents,  and 
let  them  down  the  steep  declivities.  Every  step 
added  to  the  danger,  as  heralded  by  the  death  of 

O  t/ 

the  three  pioneers,  Daniel  Browett,  Ezra  H.  Allen, 
and  Henderson  Cox,  who  were  found  killed  by  the 
Indians  of  the  Sierra.  And  undaunted,  though  sor 
rowful,  and  filled  with  many  a  foreboding,  the  survi 
vors  descended  the  eastern  slope  and  wended  their 
way  through  the  thirsty  desert;  and  there  we  must 
leave  them  and  return  to  our  gold-diggers. 

9  '  Having  an  understanding  with  Mr  Marshall  to  dig  on  shares. .  .so  long 
as  we  worked  on  his  claims  or  land.'  Bigler,  Diary  of  a  Mormon,  MS.,  75. 
A  Mormon  writing  in  the  Times  and  Transcript  says:  'They  undertook  to' 
make  us  give  them  half  the  gold  we  got  for  the  privilege  of  digging  on  their 
land.  This  was  afterward  reduced  to  one  third,  and  in  a  few  weeks  was 
given  up  altogether.'  Mrs  Wimtner  states  that  Sutter  and  Marshall  claimed 
thirty  per  cent  of  the  gold  found  on  their  grant;  Brannan  for  a  time  secured 
ten  per  cent  on  the  pretext  of  tithes. 


MARCH- AUGUST,  1848. 


As  when  some  carcass,  hidden  in  sequestered  nook, 
draws  from  every  near  and  distant  point  myriads  of 
discordant  vultures,  so  drew  these  little  flakes  of  gold 
the  voracious  sons  of  men.  The  strongest  human 
appetite  was  aroused — the  sum  of  appetites — this 
yellow  dirt  embodying  the  means  for  gratifying  love, 
hate,  lust,  and  domination.  This  little  scratch  upon 
the  earth  to  make  a  backwoods  mill-race  touched  the 
cerebral  nerve  that  quickened  humanity,  and  sent  a 
thrill  throughout  the  system.  It  tingled  in  the  ear 
and  at  the  finger-ends ;  it  buzzed  about  the  brain  and 
tickled  in  the  stomach;  it  warmed  the  blood  and 
swelled  the  heart;  new  fires  were  kindled  on  the 
hearth-stones,  new  castles  builded  in  the  air.  If 
Satan  from  Diablo's  peak  had  sounded  the  knell  of 
time;  if  a  heavenly  angel  from  the  Sierra's  height 
had  heralded  the  millennial  day;  if  the  blessed  Christ 
himself  had  risen  from  that  ditch  and  proclaimed  to 
all  mankind  amnesty — their  greedy  hearts  had  never 
half  so  thrilled. 

The  effect  of  the  gold  discovery  could  not  be  long 
confined  to  the  narrow  limits  of  Sutter's  domain.  The 



information  scattered  by  the  Swiss  and  his  dependents 
had  been  further  disseminated  in  different  directions 
by  others.  Nevertheless,  while  a  few  like  Hum 
phrey,  the  Georgia  miner,  responded  at  once  to  the 
influence,  as  a  rule  little  was  thought  of  it  at  first, 
particularly  by  those  at  a  distance.  The  nature  and 
extent  of  the  deposits  being  unknown,  the  significance 
or  importance  of  the  discovery  could  not  be  appre 
ciated.  It  was  not  uncommon  at  any  time  to  hear  of 
gold  or  other  metals  being  found  here,  there,  or  any 
where,  in  America,  Europe,  or  Asia,  and  nothing 
come  of  it.  To  emigrants,  among  other  attractions, 
gold  had  been  mentioned  as  one  of  the  possible  or  prob 
able  resources  of  California;  but  to  plodding  agricul 
turists  or  mechanics  the  idea  of  searching  the  wilder 
ness  for  gold  would  have  been  deemed  visionary,  or 
the  fact  of  little  moment  that  some  one  somewhere 
had  found  gold.1  When  so  intelligent  a  man  as  Sern- 
ple  at  Benicia  was  told  of  it  he  said,  "I  would  give 
more  for  a  good  coal  mine  than  for  all  the  gold  mines 
in  the  universe."  At  Sonoma,  Vallejo  passed  the 
matter  by  with  a  piece  of  pleasantry. 

The  first  small  flakes  of  gold  that  Captain  Folsom 
examined  at  San  Francisco  he  pronounced  mica;  he 
did  not  believe  a  man  who  came  down  some  time  after 
with  twenty  ounces  when  he  claimed  to  have  gathered 
it  in  eight  days.  Some  time  in  April  Folsom  wrote 
to  Mason  at  Monterey,  making  casual  mention  of  the 
existing  rumor  of  gold  on  the  Sacramento.  In  May 
Bradley,  a  friend  of  Folsom 's,  went  to  Monterey,  and 
was  asked  by  Mason  if  he  knew  anything  of  this  gold 
discovery  on  the  American  River.  "I  have  heard  of 

1  'The  people  here  did  not  believe  it,'  says  Findla,  '  they  thought  it  was  a 
hoax.  They  had  found  in  various  places  about  S.  F.,  notably  on  Pacific  Street, 
specimens  of  different  minerals,  gold  and  silver  among  them,  but  in  very  small 
quantities;  and  so  they  were  not  inclined  to  believe  in  the  discovery  at  Sut- 
ter's  mill. '  Gillespie  testifies  to  the  same.  He  did  not  at  all  credit  the  story. 
Three  samples  in  quills  and  vials  were  displayed  before  the  infection  took  in  the 
town.  Gillexpie's  Vig.  Com.,  MS.,  4;  Findla' s  Stat.,  MS.,  4-6;  Willetfs  Thirty 
Years,  19-20. 


it,"  replied  Bradley.  "A  few  fools  have  hurried  to 
the  place,  but  you  may  be  sure  there  is  nothing  in  it." 

On  Wednesday,  the  15th  of  March,  the  Califomian, 
one  of  the  two  weekly  newspapers  then  published  at 
San  Francisco,  contained  a  brief  paragraph  to  the 
effect  that  gold  had  been  discovered  in  considerable 
quantities  at  Sutter's  saw-mill.2  The  editor  hazarded 
the  remark  that  California  was  probably  rich  in  min 
erals.  On  the  following  Saturday  the  other  weekly 
paper,  the  California  Star,  mentioned,  without  edito 
rial  comment,  that  gold  had  been  found  forty  miles 
above  Sutter's  Fort. 

The  items,  if  noticed  at  all,  certainly  created  no 
excitement.  Little  if  any  more  was  thought  of  gold 
probabilities  than  those  of  silvery  or  quicksilver,  or 
coal,  and  not  half  as  much  as  of  agriculture  and  fruit 
growing.3  This  was  in  March. 

In  April  a  somewhat  altered  tone  is  noticed  in  ac 
cording  greater  consideration  to  the  gold  discoveries.4 

2  This,  the  first  printed  notice  of  the  discovery,  ran  as  follows:  '  Gold  mine 
found.     In  the  newly  made  raceway  of  the  saw-mill  recently  erected  by  Cap 
tain  Sutler  on  the  American  fork,  gold  has  been  found  in  considerable  quan  - 
tities.     One  person  brought  thirty  dollars'  worth  to  New  Helvetia,  gathered 
there  in  a  short  time.     California  no  doubt  is  rich  in  mineral  wealth;  great 
chances  here  for  scientific  capitalists.     Gold  has  been  found  in  every  part  of 
the  country.' 

3  The  editor  of  the  Star,  writing  the  25th  of  March,  says:  'A  good  move 
it  would  be  for  all  property  holders  in  the  place,  who  have  no  very  settled 
purpose  of  improving  the  town,  and  distant  ideas  of  rare  chances  at  specula 
tion,  to  employ  upon  their  unoccupied  lands  some  few  of  our  liquor-house 
idlers,  and  in  the  process  of  ploughing,  harrowing,  hoeing,  and  planting  it  is 
not  idle  to  believe  some  hidden  treasure  would  be  brought  out.     Some  silver 
mines  are  wanted  in  this  vicinity,  could  they  be  had  without  experiencing 
the  ill  effects  following  in  the  train  of  their  discovery.     Monterey,  our  cap 
ital,  rests  on  a  bed  of  quicksilver,  so  say  the  cute  and  knowing.      We  say  if 
we  can  discover  ourselves  upon  a  bed  of  silver  we,  for  our  single  self,  shall 
straightway  throw  up  the  pen  and  cry  aloud  with  Hood:  'A  pickaxe  or  a 
spade.'     On  the  same  date  he  says:   '  So  great  is  the  quantity  of  gold  taken 
from  the  mine  recently  found  at  New  Helvetia  that  it  has  become  an  article 
of  traffic  in  that  vicinity.' 

4Fourgeaud,  in  a  serial  article  on  '  The  Prospects  of  California,'  writes  in 
the  Star  the  1st  of  April:  '  We  saw,  a  few  days  ago,  a  beautiful  specimen  of 
gold  from  the  mine  newly  discovered  on  the  American  fork.  From  all  ac 
counts  the  mine  is  immensely  rich,  and  already  we  learn  that  gold  from  it, 
collected  at  random  and  without  any  trouble,  has  become  an  article  of  trade 
at  the  upper  settlements.  This  precious  metal  abounds  in  this  country.  We 
h;ive  heard  of  several  other  newly  discovered  mines  of  gold,  but  as  these  re 
ports  are  not  yet  authenticated,  \ve  shall  pass  over  them.  However,  it  is  well 
known  that  there  is  a  pJacero  of  gold  a  few  miles  from  the  Ciudad  de  los  An- 


Yet  the  knowing  ones  are  backward  about  committing 
themselves;  and  when  overcome  by  curiosity  to  see 
the  mines,  they  pretend  business  elsewhere  rather 
than  admit  their  destination.  Thus  E.  C.  Kemble, 
editor  of  the  Star,  announces  on  the  15th  his  inten 
tion  to  " ruralize  among  the  rustics  of  the  country  for 
a  few  weeks."  Hastening  to  the  mines  he  makes  his 
observations,  returns,  and  in  jerky  diction  flippantly 
remarks :  "  Great  country,  fine  climate ;  visit  this  great 
valley,  we  would  advise  all  who  have  not  yet  done  so. 
See  it  now.  Full-flowing  streams,  mighty  timber, 
large  crops,  luxuriant  clover,  fragrant  flowers,  gold 
and  silver."  This  is  all  Mr  Kemble  says  of  his  journey 
in  his  issue  of  the  6th  of  May,  the  first  number  after 
his  return.  Whether  he  walked  as  one  blind  and  void 
of  intelligence,  or  saw  more  than  his  interests  seem- 

O  ' 

ingly  permitted  him  to  tell,  does  not  appear. 

There  were  men,  however,  more  observant  and  out 
spoken  than  the  astute  editor,  some  of  whom  left  town 
singly,  or  in  small  parties  of  seldom  more  than  two 
or  three.  They  said  little,  as  if  fearing  ridicule,  but 
crossed  quietly  to  Sauzalito,  and  thence  took  the  di 
rection  of  Sonoma  and  Sutter's  Fort.  The  mystery 
of  the  movement  in  itself  proved  an  incentive,  to  which 
accumulating  reports  and  specimens  gave  intensity,  till 
it  reached  a  climax  with  the  arrival  of  several  well- 
laden  diggers,  bringing  bottles,  tin  cans,  and  buckskin 
bags  filled  with  the  precious  metal,  which  their  owners 

geles,  and  another  on  the  San  Joaquin. '  In  another  column  of  the  same  issue 
we  read  that  at  the  American  River  diggings  the  gold  '  is  found  at  a  depth 
of  three  feet  below  the  surface,  and  in  a  strata  of  soft  sand-rock.  Explorations 
made  southward  to  the  distance  of  twelve  miles,  and  to  the  north  five  miles, 
report  the  continuance  of  this  strata  and  the  mineral  equally  abundant.  The 
vein  is  from  twelve  to  eighteen  feet  in  thickness.  Most  advantageously  to 
this  new  mine,  a  stream  of  water  flows  in  its  immediate  neighborhood,  and 
the  washing  will  be  attended  with  comparative  ease.'  These,  and  the  two 
items  already  alluded  to  in  the  Star  of  the  18th  and  25th  of  March,  are  the 
only  notices  in  this  paper  of  the  diggings  prior  to  the  22d  of  April,  when  it 
states:  'We  have  been  informed,  from  unquestionable  authority,  that  another 
still  more  extensive  and  valuable  gold  mine  lias  been  discovered  towards  the 
head  of  the  American  fork,  in  the  Sacramento  Valley.  We  have  seen  several 
specimens  taken  from  it,  to  the  amount  of  eight  or  ten  ounces  of  pure  virgin 
gold.'  The  Calif  or  nian  said  even  less  on  the  subject  during  the  same  period. 


treated  with  a  familiarity  hitherto  unknown  in  these 
parts  to  such  worshipful  wealth.  Among  the  comers 
was  Samuel  Brannan,  the  Mormon  leader,  who,  hold 
ing  up  a  bottle  of  dust  in  one  hand,  and  swinging  his 
hat  with  the  other,  passed  along  the  street  shouting, 
"  Gold !  Gold !  Gold  from  the  American  River  I"5 

This  took  place  in  the  early  part  of  May.  The 
conversion  of  San  Francisco  was  complete.  Those 
who  had  hitherto  denied  a  lurking  faith  now  unblush- 
ingly  proclaimed  it;  and  others,  who  had  refused  to 
believe  even  in  specimens  exhibited  before  their  eyes, 
hesitated  no  longer  in  accepting  any  reports,  however 
exaggerated,  and  in  speeding  them  onward  duly  mag 
nified.6  Many  were  thrown  into  a  fever  of  excitement,7 
and  all  yielded  more  or  less  to  the  subtle  influence  of 

5  'He  took  his  hat  off  and  swung  it,  shouting  aloud  in  the  streets.'  Bigler's 
Diary,  MS. ,  79.     Evans  in  the  Oregon  Bulletin  makes  the  date  'about  the  12th 
of  May.'     See  also  Findla's  Stab.,  MS.,  4-6;  Ross' Stat.t  MS.,  12;  Jf.  Helv. 
Diary,  passim.     Gillespie,  Vig.  Com.,  MS.,  4,  refers  to  three  samples  seen  by 
him,  the  third  'was  a  whole  quinine-bottle  full,  which  set  all  the  people  wild.' 

6  By  the  10th  of  June  the  sapient  sceptic,  Kemble,  turned   completely 
around  in  expressing  his  opinion,  denying  that  he  had  ever  discouraged,  not 
to  say  denounced,  'the  employment  in  which  over  two  thirds  of  the  white 
population  of  this  country  are  engaged.'     But  it  was  too  late  to  save  either 
his  reputation  or  his  journal.    There  were  not  wanting  others  still  to  denounce 
in  vain  and  loudly  all  mines  and  miners.      'I  doubt,  sir,'  one  exclaims,  in  the 
Californian,  'if  ever  the  sun  shone  upon  such  a  farce  as  is  now  being  enacted 
in  California,  though  I  fear  it  may  prove  a  tragedy  before  the  curtain  drops. 
I  consider  it  your  duty,  Mr  Editor,  as  a  conservator  of  the  public  morals 
and  welfare,  to  raise  your  voice  against  the  thing.     It  is  to  be  hoped  that 
General  Mason  will  despatch  the  volunteers  to  the  scene  of  action,  and  send 
these   unfortunate   people   to  their  homes,  and   prevent  others  from   going 
thither.'     This  man  quickly  enough  belied  a  wisdom  which  led  him  unwit 
tingly  to  perform  the  part  of  heavy  simpleton  in  the  drama.    Dunbar,  Romance 
of  the  Age,  102,  with  his  usual  accuracy,  places  this  communication  in  the 
Alta  California,  May  24,  1848 — impossible,  from  the  fact  that  on  that  day  no 
paper  was  issued  in  California,  and  iheAlta  never  saw  the  light  until  the  fol 
lowing  January. 

7  Carson,  Rec.,  4,  who  for  a  long  time  had  rejected  all  reports,  was  finally 
convinced  by  a  returning  digger,  who  opened  his  well-tilled  bag  before  him. 
'I  looked  on  for  a  moment;'  he  writes,  'a  frenzy  seized  my  soul;  unbidden 
my  legs  performed  some  entirely  new  movements  of  polka  steps — I   took 
several — houses  were  too  small  for  me  to  stay  in;  I  was  soon  in  the  street  in 
search  of  necessary  outfits;  piles  of  gold  rose  up  before  me  at  every  step; 
castles  of  marble,  dazzling  the  eye  with  their  i*ich  appliances;  thousands  of 
slaves  bowing  to  my  beck  and  call;  myriads  of  fair  virgins  contending  with 
each  other  for  my  love — were  among  the  fancies  .of  my  fevered  imagination. 
The  Rothschilds,  Girards,  and  Astors  appeared  to  me  but  poor  people;  in 
short,  I  had  a  very  violent  attack  of  the  gold  fever.'     For  further  particulars, 
see  Larkirfs  Doc,,  MS.,  iv.  passim. 


the  malady.8  Men  hastened  to  arrange  their  affairs, 
dissolving  partnerships,  disposing  of  real  estate,  and 
converting  other  effects  into  ready  means  for  depart 
ure.  Within  a  few  days  an  exodus  set  in  that  startled 
those  who  had  placed  their  hopes  upon  the  peninsular 
metropolis.9  "Fleets  of  launches  left  this  place  on 
Sunday  and  Monday,"  exclaims  Editor  Kemble, 
"closely  stowed  with  human  beings.  .  .Was  there 
ever  anything  so  superlatively  silly?"10  But  sneers, 
expostulations,  and  warnings  availed  not  with  a  multi 
tude  so  possessed. 

The  nearest  route  was  naturally  sought — by  water 
up  the  Bay  into  the  Sacramento,  and  thence  where 
fortune  beckoned.  The  few  available  sloops,  lighters, 
arid  nondescript  craft  were  quickly  engaged  arid  filled 
for  the  mines.  Many  who  could  not  obtain  passage 
in  the  larger  vessels  sold  all  their  possessions,  when 
necessary,  and  bought  a  small  boat;11  every  little 
rickety  cockleshell  was  made  to  serve  the  purpose; 
and  into  these  they  bundled  their  effects,  set  up  a  sail, 
and  steered  for  Carquines  Strait.  Then  there  were 
two  routes  by  land :  one  across  to  Sauzalito  by  launch, 
and  thence  by  mule,  mustang,  or  on  foot,  by  way  of 
San  Rafael  and  Sonoma,  into  the  California  Valley; 
and  the  other  round  the  southern  end  of  the  Bay  and 
through  Livermore  Pass. 


8 Brooks  writes  in  his  diary,  under  date  of  May  10th:  'Nothing  has  been 
talked  of  but  the  new  gold  placer,  as  people  call  it.'  'Several  parties,  we 
hear,  are  already  made  up  to  visit  the  diggings.'  May  13th:  'The  gold  excite 
ment  increases  daily,  as  several  fresh  arrivals  from  the  mines  have  been  re 
ported  at  San  Francisco.'  Four  Months  among  the  Gold-finders,  14-15. 

9  'Several  hundred  people  must  have  left  here  during  the  last  few  days,' 
writes  Brooks  in  his  diary,  under  date  of  May  20th.     '  In  the  month  of  May 
it  was  computed  that  at  least  150  people  had  left  S.  F.,  and  every  day  since 
was   adding   to   their  number.'  Annals  S.  F.,  203.     The  census  taken  the 
March  previous  showed  810,  of  whom  177  were  women  and  60  children;  so 
that  150  would  be  over  one  fourth  of  the  male  population.    See  also  letter  of 
Bassham  to  Cooper,  May  15th,  in  Vallejo,  Doc.,  MS.,  xxxv.  47.     Those  with 
out  means  have  only  to  go  to  a  merchant  and  borrow  from  §1,000  to  $2,000, 
and  give  him  an  order  on  the  gold  mines,  is  the  way  Coutts,  Diary,  MS.,  1 13, 
puts  it. 

10  Cat.  Star,  May  20,  1848.     Kemble,  who  is  fast  coming  to  grief,  curses 
the  whole  business,  and  pronounces  the  mines  'all  sham,  a  supurb  (sic)  take- 
in  as  was  ever  got  up  to  guzzle  the  gullible.' 

11  'Little  row-boats,  that  before  were  probably  sold  for  $50,  were  sold  for 
$400  or  $500.'  Gillexpie,  Vig.  Com.,  MS.,  3. 


Roads  there  were  none  save  the  trails  between  larger 
settlements.  With  the  sun  for  compass,  and  moun 
tain  peaks  for  finger-posts,  new  paths  were  marked 
across  the  trackless  plains  and  through  the  untrodden 
woods.  Most  of  the  gold-seekers  could  afford  a  horse, 
and  even  a  pack-animal,  which  was  still  to  be  had  for 
fifteen  dollars,12  and  thus  proceed  with  greater  speed 
to  the  goal,  to  the  envy  of  the  number  that  had  to 
content  themselves  with  wagons,  which,  though  white- 
covered  and  snug,  with  perhaps  a  family  inside,  were 
cumbersome  and  slow,  especially  when  drawn  by  oxen. 
Often  a  pedestrian  was  passed  trudging  along  under 
his  load,  glad  to  get  his  effects  carried  across  the  stream 
by  some  team,  although  he  himself  might  have  to 
breast  the  current  swimming,  perchance  holding  to 
the  tail  of  some  horse.  There  were  ferries  only  at 
rare  points.  Charles  L.  Ross13  had  left  for  the  mines 
the  last  of  April,  by  way  of  Alviso,  and  crossed  the 
strait  of  Carquines  by  Semple's  ferry  at  Martinez. 
At  this  time  he  was  the  only  person  on  the  boat. 
When  he  returned,  less  than  a  fortnight  after,  there 
were  200  wagons  on  their  way  to  the  foothills,  wait 
ing  their  turn  to  cross  at  the  ferry.14 

In  the  general  eagerness  personal  comfort  became 

12  One  rider  rented  his  animals  at  the  mines  for  f  100  per  week.  Brooks 
crossed  to  Sauzalito  with  four  companions  who  were  attended  by  an  Indian 
servant  to  drive  their  six  horses  laden  with  baggage  and  camp  equipments. 
Vallejo,  Hist.  CaL,  MS.,  iv.,  points  out  that  Sonoma  reaped  benefit  as  a  way- 

13 Experiences  of  a  Pioneer  of  1847  in  California,  by  Charles  L.  Ross,  is  the 
title  of  a  manuscript  written  at  the  dictation  of  Mr  Ross  by  my  stenographer, 
Mr  Leighton,  in  1878.  Mr  Ross  left  New  Jersey  in  Nov.  1846,  passed  round 
Cape  Horn  in  the  bark  Whiton,  arriving  in  Cal.  in  April  1847.  The  very  in 
teresting  information  contained  in  this  manuscript  is  all  embodied  in  the 
pages  of  this  history. 

14  'They  having  collected  there  in  that  short  time — men,  women,  and  chil 
dren,  families  who  had  left  their  homes,  and  gathered  in  there  from  down  the 
coast.  They  had  organized  a  committee,  and  each  man  was  registered  on  his 
arrival,  and  each  took  his  turn  in  crossing.  The  boat  ran  night  and  day, 
carrying  each  time  two  wagons  and  horses  and  the  people  connected  with 
the.  i.  Some  of  them  had  to  camp  there  quite  a  while.  After  a  time  somebody 
else  got  a  scow  and  started  another  ferry,  and  they  got  across  faster. '  Ross* 
Experiences,  MS. ,  1 1-12.  '  Semple  obtains  from  passengers  some  $20  per  day, 
and  hass  not  a  single  boatman  to  help  him.  Only  one  man  has  offered  to  re 
main,  and  he  only  for  two  weeks  at  $25  a  week.'  Letter  of  Larkin  to  Mason 
from  San  Jos6,  May  26,  1848,  iu  Doc.  Hist.  CaL,  MS. 


of  secondary  consideration.  Some  started  without  a 
dollar,  or  with  insufficient  supplies  and  covering,  often 
to  suffer  severely  in  reaching  the  ground;  but  once 
there  they  expected  quickly  to  fill  their  pockets  with 
what  would  buy  the  services  of  their  masters,  and  ob 
tain  for  them  abundance  to  eat.  Many  were  fed  while 
on  the  way  as  by  the  ravens  of  Midas;  for  there  were 
few  in  California  then  or  since  who  would  see  a  fellow- 
being  starve.  But  if  blankets  and  provisions  were 
neglected,  none  overlooked  the  all-important  shovel, 
the  price  for  which  jumped  from  one  dollar  to  six,  ten, 
or  even  more,16  and  stores  were  rummaged  for  pick 
axes,  hoes,  bottles,  vials,  snuff-boxes,  and  brass  tubes, 
the  latter  for  holding  the  prospective  treasure.16 

Through  June  the  excitement  continued,  after 
which  there  were  few  left  to  be  excited.  Indeed,  by 
the  middle  of  this  month  the  abandonment  of  San 
Francisco  was  complete;  that  is  to  say,  three  fourths 
of  the  male  population  had  gone  to  the  mines.  It  was 
as  if  an  epidemic  had  swept  the  little  town  so  lately 
bustling  with  business,  or  as  if  it  was  always  early 
morning  there.  Since  the  presence  of  United  States 
forces  San  Francisco  had  put  on  pretensions,  and 
scores  of  buildings  had  been  started.  "  But  now," 
complains  the  Star,  the  27th  of  May,  "stores  are 
closed  and  places  of  business  vacated,  a  large  number 
of  houses  tenantless,  various  kinds  of  mechanical  labor 
suspended  or  given  up  entirely,  and  nowhere  the 
pleasant  hum  of  industry  salutes  the  ear  as  of  late; 
but  as  if  a  curse  had  arrested  our  onward  course  of 
enterprise,  everything  wears  a  desolate  and  sombre 
look,  everywhere  all  is  dull,  monotonous,  dead."17 

15  'I  am  informed  $50  has  been  offered  for  one,'  writes  Larkin  on  June  1st. 

16  'Earthen  jars  and  even  barrels  have  been  put  in  requisition,'  observes 
the  Calif  or  nian  of  Aug.  5th. 

17  The  following  advertisement  appears  in  this  issue:   '  The  highest  mar 
ket  price  will  be  paid  for  gold,  either  cash  or  merchandise,  by  Mellus  &  How 
ard,  Montgomery  street.'     Again,  by  the  same  firm  goods  were  offered  for 
sale  'for  cash,  hides  and  tallow,  or  placera  gold.'  C<d.  Star,  May  27,  1848. 

Of  quite  a  different  character  was  another  notice  in  the  same  issue.  '  Pay  up 
before  you  go  —  everybody  knows  where,'  the  editor  cries.  'Papers  can  be 
forwarded  to  Sutter's  Fort  with  all  regularity.  But  pay  the  printer,  if  you 


Real  estate  had  dropped  one  half  or  more,  and  all 
merchandise  not  used  in  the  mines  declined,  while 
labor  rose  tenfold  in  price.18 

Spreading  their  valedictions  on  fly-sheets,  the  only 
two  journals  now  faint  dead  away,  the  Californian  on 
the  29th  of  May,  and  the  Star  on  the  14th  of  June. 
"  The  whole  country  from  San  Francisco  to  Los  An 
geles,"  exclaimed  the  former,  "and  from  the  seashore 
to  the  base  of  the  Sierra  Nevada,  resounds  to  the  sor 
did  cry  of  gold!  GOLD!  !  GOLD  I ! !  while  the  field  is 
left  half  planted,  the  house  half  built,  and  everything 
neglected  but  the  manufacture  of  shovels  and  pick 
axes,  and  the  means  of  transportation  to  the  spot 
where  one  man  obtained  $128  worth  of  the  real  stuff  in 
one  day's  washing,  and  the  average  for  all  concerned 
is  $20  per  diem."  Sadly  spoke  Kemble,  he  who  vis 
ited  the  gold  mines  and  saw  nothing,  he  to  whom 
within  four  weeks  the  whole  thing  was  a  sham,  a 
superlatively  silly  sham,  groaning  within  and  without, 
but  always  in  very  bad  English,  informing  the  world 
that  his  paper  "  could  not  be  made  by  magic,  and  the 
labor  of  mechanism  was  as  essential  to  its  existence 
as  to  all  other  arts;"  and  as  neither  men  nor  devils 

please,  all  you  in  arrears.'  See  also  Findla's  Stat.,  MS.,  4-6.  After  quite  a 
busy  life,  during  which  he  gained  some  pi'ominence  as  editor  of  the  Star  and 
Californian  and  the  Alia  California,  and  later  as  government  official  and 
newspaper  correspondent,  Kemble  died  at  the  east  the  10th  of  Feb.  188ii. 
He  was  a  man  highly  esteemed  in  certain  circles. 

18  Pay  the  cost  of  the  house,  and  the  lot  would  be  thrown  in.  On  the 
fifty- vara  corner  Pine  and  Kearny  streets  was  a  house  which  had  cost  $400  to 
build;  both  house  and  lot  were  offered  for  $350.  Ross*  Ex.,  MS.,  12;  Lar kin's 
Doc.,  MS.,  vi.,  144.  On  the  door  of  a  score  of  houses  was  posted  the  notice, 
'Gone  to  the  Diggings!'  From  San  Jos6  Larkin  writes  to  the  governor, 
'  The  improvement  of  Yerba  Buenafor  the  present  is  done.'  Letter,  May  26th, 
in  Larkin's  Doc.  Hi$t.  Gal.,  MS.,  vi.  74.  Even  yet  the  name  San  Francisco 
has  not  become  familiar  to  those  accustomed  to  that  of  Yerba  Buena.  See  also 
Brooks'  Four  Months,  in  which  is  written,  under  date  of  May  17th:  '  Work 
people  have  struck.  Walking  through  the  town  to-day  I  observed  that 
laborers  were  employed  only  upon  half  a  dozen  of  the  fifty  new  buildings 
which  were  in  the  course  of  being  run  up.'  May  20th:  'Sweating  tells  me 
that  his  negro  waiter  has  demanded  and  receives  ten  dollars  a  day.'  Larkin, 
writing  from  S.  F.  to  Secretary  Buchanan,  June  1st,  remarks  that  'some  par 
ties  of  from  five  to  fifteen  men  have  sent  to  this  town  and  offered  cooks  $10 
to  $15  a  day  for  a  few  weeks.  Mechanics  and  teamsters,  earning  the  year 
past  $5  to  $8  per  day,  have  struck  and  gone.  .  .A  merchant  lately  from  China 
has  even  lost  his  Chinese  servant. ' 


could  be  kept  to  service,  the  wheels  of  progress  here 
must  rest  a  while. 

So  also  came  to  an  end  for  a  time  the  sittings  of 
the  town  council,  and  the  services  of  the  sanctuary, 
all  having  gone  after  other  gods.  All  through  the 
Sundays  the  little  church  on  the  plaza  was  silent,  and 
all  through  the  week  days  the  door  of  Alcalde  Towns- 
end's  office  remained  locked.  As  for  the  shipping,  it 
was  left  to  the  anchor,  even  this  dull  metal  some 
times  being  inconstant.  The  sailors  departing,  cap 
tain  and  officers  could  only  follow  their  example.  One 
commander,  on  observing  the  drift  of  affairs,  gave 
promptly  the  order  to  put  to  sea.  The  crew  refused 
to  work,  and  that  night  gagged  the  watch,  lowered 
the  boat,  and  rowed  away.  In  another  instance  the 
watch  joined  in  absconding.  Not  long  afterward  a 
Peruvian  brig  entered  the  bay,  the  first  within  three 
weeks.  The  houses  were  there,  but  no  one  came  out 
to  welcome  it.  At  length,  hailing  a  Mexican  who 
was  passing,  the  captain  learned  that  everybody  had 
gone  northward,  where  the  valleys  and  mountains 
were  of  gold.  On  the  instant  the  crew  were  off.19 

19  So  run  these  stories.  Ferry,  CaL,  306-13.  The  captain  who  sought  to 
put  to  sea  commanded  the  Flora,  according  to  a  letter  in  June  of  a  merchant. 
Robinson's  Gold  Regions,  29-30;  Revere's  Tour  of  Duty,  254.  One  of  the  first 
vessels  to  be  deserted  was  a  ship  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company  lying  at 
anchor  in  the  bay;  the  sailors  departing,  the  captain  followed  them,  leaving 
the  vessel  in  charge  of  his  wife  and  daughter.  McKinstry,  in  the  Lancaster 
Examiner.  Loud  complaints  appear  in  the  Calif ornian,  Sept.  5,  1848;  every 
ship  loses  most  of  her  crew  within  forty-eight  hours  after  arrival.  See  Brackett, 
U.  8.  Cavalry,  125-7.  The  first  steamship,  the  California,  arriving  Feb.  28, 
1849,  was  immediately  deserted  by  her  crew;  Forbes  asked  Jones  of  the  U.  S. 
squadron  for  men  to  take  charge  of  the  ship,  but  the  poor  commodore  had 
none.  Crosby's  Stat.,  MS.,  12;  Annals  S.  F.,  220;  First  Steamship  Pioneers, 
124.  To  prevent  desertion,  the  plan  was  tried  of  giving  sailors  two  months' 
furlough;  whereby  some  few  returned,  but  most  of  them  preferred  liberty, 
wealth,  and  dissipation  to  the  tyranny  of  service.  Swarfs  Trip  to  the  Gold 
Mines,  in  CaL  Pioneers,  MS.,  no.  49.  Some  Mexicans  arriving,  and  finding 
the  town  depopulated  of  its  natural  defenders,  broke  into  vacant  houses  and 
took  what  they  would.  The  Dinner's  Hand-Book,  53.  See  also  the  Calif or- 
nian,  Aug.  4,  1848;  George  McKinstry,  in  Lancaster  Examiner;  Stockton  I nd., 
Oct.  19,  1875;  Saratov's  Stat.,  MS.,  3-4;  Sac.  111.,  7;  Forbes*  Gold  Region, 
17-18;  TuthilVsCaL,  235-44;  Three  Weeks  in  Gold  Mine*,  4;  Canon's  Early 
Rec.,  3-4;  Lants,  KaL,  24-31;  Hayes'  Col.  Cal.  Fotes,  v.  85;  Revue  des  Deux 
Mondes,  Feb.  1,  1849,  4G9;  Quarterly  Review,  no.  91,  1852,508;  HitteWs  Min 
ing,  17;  Brooks'  Four  Months,  18;  Overland  Monthly,  xi.  12-13;  Ryan's  Judges 
and  Crim.,  72-7;  Am.  Quat.  Reg.,  ii.  288-95,  giving  the  report's  of  Larkin, 


Other  towns  and  settlements  in  California  were  no 
less  slow  than  San  Francisco  to  move  under  the  new 
fermentation.  Indeed,  they  were  more  apathetic,  and 
were  finally  stirred  into  excitement  less  by  the  facts 
than  by  the  example  of  the  little  metropolis.  Yet  the 
Mexicans  were  in  madness  no  whit  behind  the  Amer 
icans,  nor  the  farmers  less  impetuous  than  townsmen 
when  once  the  fury  seized  them.  May  had  not  wholly 
passed  when  at  San  Jose  the  merchant  closed  his 
store,  or  if  the  stock  was  perishable  left  open  the  doors 
that  people  might  help  themselves,  and  incontinently 
set  out  upon  the  pilgrimage.  So  the  judge  abandoned 
his  bench  and  the  doctor  his  patients;  even  the  alcalde 
dropped  the  reins  of  government  and  went  away  with 
his  subjects.20  Criminals  slipped  their  fetters  and 

Mason,  Jones,  and  Paymaster  Rich  on  gold  excitement;  Wille.y's  Decade  Ser 
mons,  12-17;  Glcason's  Cath.  Church,  ii.  175-93;  Sherman's  Memoirs,  i.  46-9; 
S.  F.  Directory,  1852-3,  8-9;  8.  I.  News,  ii.  142-8,  giving  the  extract  of  a 
letter  from  S.  F.,  May  27th;  Vallejo  Recorder,  March  14,  1848;  Cal.  Past 
and  Present,  77;  G'dlc*pie\s  Vig.  Com.,  MS.,  3-4;  Findla's  Stat.,  MS.,  4-6. 
The  Calif ornian  newspaper  revived  shortly  after  its  suspension  in  May. 

20  The  alguacil,  Henry  Bee,  had  ten  Indian  prisoners  under  his  charge  in 
the  lock-up,  two  of  them  charged  with  murder.  These  he  would  have  turned 
over  to  the  alcalde,  but  that  functionary  had  already  taken  his  departure. 
Bee  was  puzzled  how  to  dispose  of  his  wards,  for  though  he  was  determined 
to  go  to  the  mines,  it  would  never  do  to  let  them  loose  upon  a  community  of 
women  and  children.  Finally  he  took  all  the  prisoners  with  him  to  the 
diggings,  where  they  worked  contentedly  for  him  until  other  miners,  jealous 
of  Bee's  success,  incited  them  to  revolt.  By  that  time,  however,  the  alguacil 
had  made  his  fortune.  So  goes  the  story.  San  JO*Q  Pioneer,  Jan.  27,  1877. 
Writing  Mason  the  26th  of  May  from  San  Jose",  Larkin  says:  '  Last  night  sev 
eral  of  the  most  respectable  American  residents  of  this  town  arrived  home 
from  a  visit  to  the  gold  regions;  next  week  they  with  their  families,  and  I 
think  nine  tenths  of  the  foreign  store-keepers,  mechanics,  and  day-laborers  of 
this  place,  and  perhaps  of  San  Francisco,  leave  for  the  Sacramento.'  West,  a 
stable-keeper,  had  two  brothers  in  the  mines,  who  urged  him  at  once  to  hasten 
thither  and  bring  his  family.  '  Burn  the  barn  if  you  cannot  dispose  of  it 
otherwise, '  they  said.  C.  L.  Ross  writes  from  the  mines  in  April,  Experience* 
from  1847,  MS.:  'I  found  John  M.  Horner,  of  the  mission  of  San  Jose",  who 
told  me  he  had  left  about  500  acres  of  splendid  wheat  for  the  cattle 
to  roam  over  at  will,  he  and  his  family  having  deserted  their  place  en 
tirely,  and  started  off  for  the  mines.'  J.  Belden,  Nov.  6th,  writes  Lar 
kin  from  San  Jose":  'The  town  is  full  of  people  coming  from  and  going  to 
the  gold  mines.  A  man  just  from  there  told  me  he  saw  the  governor  and 
Squire  Colton  there,  in  rusty  rig,  scratching  gravel  for  gold,  but  with 
little  success.'  Larkirfs  Doc.,  MS.,  vi.  219.  And  so  in  the  north.  Semple, 
writing  Larkin  May  19th,  says  that  in  three  days  there  would  not  be  two 
men  left  in  Benicia;  and  Cooper,  two  days  later,  declared  that  everybody  was 
leaving  except  Brant  and  Semple.  Larkin's  Doc.,  MS.,  \i.  111,116;  Valhjo, 
Doc.,  MS.,  xii.  344.  From  Sonoma  some  one  wrote  in  the  California^,  Aug. 
5th,  that  the  town  was  wellnigh  depopulated.  'Not  a  laboring  man  or 

IN  THE  SOUTH.  63 

hastened  northward;  their  keepers  followed  in  pur 
suit,  if  indeed  they  had  not  preceded,  but  they  took 
care  not  to  find  them.  Soldiers  fled  from  their  posts; 
others  were  sent  for  them,  and  none  returned.  Val 
uable  land  grants  were  surrendered,  and  farms  left 
tenantless;  waving  fields  of  grain  stood  abandoned, 
perchance  opened  to  the  roaming  cattle,  and  gardens 
were  left  to  run  to  waste.  The  country  seemed  as  if 
smitten  by  a  plague.21 

All  along  down  the  coast  from  Monterey  to  Santa 
Barbara,  Los  Angeles,  and  San  Diego,  it  was  the 
same.  Towns  and  country  were  wellnigh  depopu 
lated.  There  the  fever  raged  fiercest  during  the  three 

O  O 

summer  months.  At  the  capital  a  letter  from  Larkin 
gave  the  impulse,  and  about  the  same  time,  upon  the 
statement  of  Swan,  four  Mormons  called  at  Monterey 
en  route  for  Los  Angeles,  who  were  reported  to  carry 
100  pounds  avoirdupois  of  gold  gathered  in  less  than 
a  month  at  Mormon  Island.  This  was  in  June.  A 
fortnight  after  the  town  was  depopulated,  1,000  start 
ing  from  that  vicinity  within  a  week.22  At  San  Fran- 
mechanic  can  be  obtained  in  town.'  Vallejo  says  that  the  first  notice  of  gold 
having  been  discovered  was  conveyed  to  Sonoma  through  a  flask  of  gold-dust 
sent  by  Sutter  to  clear  a  boat-load  of  wheat  which  had  been  forwarded  in  part 
payment  for  the  Ross  property,  but  lay  seized  for  debt  at  Sonoma.  'Gov. 
Boggs,  then  alcalde  of  Sonoma,  and  I,'  says  Vallejo,  'started  at  once  for  Sac 
ramento  to  test  the  truth  of  the  report,  and  found  that  Sutter,  Marshall,  and 
others  had  been  taking  out  gold  for  some  time  at  Coloma.  .  .  \Ve  came  back  to 
Sonoma,  and  such  was  the  enthusiasm  of  the  people  that  the  town  and  entire 
country  was  soon  deserted.'  Vallejo's  Oration  at  Sonoma,  July  4,  1876,  in 
Sonoma  Democrat,  July  8,  1876.  The  general  evidently  forgets,  or  at  all 
events  ignores,  the  many  rumors  current  prior  to  the  reception  of  the  flask, 
as  well  as  the  positive  statement  with  proofs  of  friends  and  passers-by. 

21  Such  is  Mason's  report.  Maria  Aiitonia  Pico  de  Castro,  announcing 
from  Monterey  to  her  son  Manuel  in  Mexico  the  grand  discovery,  says  that 
everybody  is  crazy  for  the  gold;  meanwhile  stock  is  comparatively  safe  from 
thieves,  but  on  the  other  hand  hides  and  tallow  are  worth  nothing.  Doc. 
Hist.  CaL,  MS.,  i.  505.  At  Santa  Cruz  A.  A.  Hecox  and  eleven  others  peti 
tioned  the  alcalde  the  30th  of  Dec.  for  a  year's  extension  of  time  in  comply 
ing  with  the  conditions  of  the  grants  of  land  obtained  by  them  according 
to  the  usual  form.  Under  the  pressure  of  the  gold  excitement  labor  had 
become  so  scarce  and  high  that  they  found  it  impossible  to  have  lumber  drawn 
for  houses  and  fences.  The  petition  was  granted. 

22 Swan's  Trip,  1-3;  Buffuiris  Six  Months,  68;  Carson's  Rec.,  4.  'One 
day,'  says  Carson,  who  was  then  at  Monterey,  'I  saw  a  form,  bent  and  filthy, 
approaching  me,  and  soon  a  cry  of  recognition  was  given  between  us.  He  was 
an  old  acquaintance,  and  had  been  one  of  the  first  to  visit  the  mines.  Now 
be  stood  before  me.  His  hair  hung  out  of  his  hat;  his  chin  with  beard  was 


cisco  commerce  had  been  chiefly  affected;  here  it  was 
government  that  was  stricken.  Mason's  small  force 
was  quickly  thinned;  and  by  the  middle  of  July,  if  we 
may  believe  the  Reverend  Colton,  who  never  was 
guilty  of  spoiling  a  story  by  too  strict  adherence  to 
truth,  the  governor  and  general-in-chief  of  California 
was  cooking  his  own  dinner.23 

In  a  proclamation  of  July  25th,  Colonel  Mason 
called  on  the  people  to  assist  in  apprehending  desert 
ers.  He  threatened  the  foothills  with  a  dragoon 
force;  but  whence  were  to  come  the  dragoons?  The 
officers  were  as  eager  to  be  off  as  the  men ;  many  of 
them  obtained  leave  to  go,  and  liberal  furloughs  were 

O       *  O 

granted  to  the  soldiers,  for  those  who  could  not  obtain 
leave  went  without  leave.  As  the  officers  who  re 
mained  could  no  longer  afford  to  live  in  their  accus 
tomed  way,  a  cook's  wages  being  $300  a  month,  they 
were  allowed  to  draw  rations  in  kind,  which  they  ex 
changed  for  board  in  private  families.24  But  even 

black,  and  his  buckskins  reached  to  his  knees.'  The  man  had  a  bag  of  gold 
on  his  back.  The  sight  of  its  contents  started  Carson  on  his  way  at  once.  In 
May  Larkin  had  prophesied  that  by  June  the  town  would  be  without  inhabi 
tants.  June  1st  Mason  at  Monterey  wrote  Larkin  at  S.  F. :  'The  golden-yel 
low  fever  has  not  yet,  I  believe,  assumed  here  its  worst  type,  though  the 
premonitory  symptoms  are  beginning  to  exhibit  themselves,  and  doubtless 
the  epidemic  will  pass  over  Monterey,  leaving  the  marks  of  its  ravages,  as  it 
has  done  at  S.  F.  and  elsewhere.  Take  care  you  don't  become  so  charged 
with  its  malaria  as  to  inoculate  and  infect  us  all  when  you  return.'  Jackson 
McDuffee,  addressing  Larkin  on  the  same  date,  says:  '  Monterey  is  very  dull, 
nothing  doing,  the  gold  fever  is  beginning  to  take  a  decided  effect  here,  and  a 
large  party  will  leave  for  the  Sacramento  the  last  of  the  week.  Shovels, 
spades,  picks,  and  other  articles  wanted  by  these  wild  adventurers  are  in 
great  demand.'  Schallenberger  on  the  8th  of  June  tells  Larkin  that  'a  great 
many  are  leaving  Monterey.  Times  duller  than  when  you  left.'  In  Sept. 
there  was  not  a  doctor  in  the  town,  and  Mrs  Larkin  who  was  lying  ill  with 
fever  had  to  do  without  medical  attendance. 

23 'Gen.  Mason,  Lieut  Lanman,  and  myself  forma  mess... This  morning 
for  the  fortieth  time  we  had  to  take  to  the  kitchen  and  cook  our  own  break 
fast.  A  general  of  the  U.  S.  army,  the  commander  of  a  man-of-war,  and  the 
alcalde  of  Monterey  in  a  smoking  kitchen  grinding  coffee,  toasting  a  herring, 
and  peeling  onions!'  Three  Years  in  Cal.,  247-8.  '  Reduit  a  faire  lui-meme 
sa  cuisine, '  as  one  says  of  this  incident  in  the  Revue  des  Deux  Mondes,  Feb. 

24 'I  of  course  could  not  escape  the  infection,'  says  Sherman,  Mem.,  i.  46, 
'and  at  last  convinced  Colonel  Mason  that  it  was  our  duty  to  go  up  and  see 
with  our  own  eyes,  that  we  might  report  the  truth  to  our  government. '  Swan 
relates  an  anecdote  of  a  party  of  sailors,  including  the  master-at-urms,  belong 
ing  to  the  Warren,  who  deserted  in  a  boat.  They  hid  themselves  in  the  pine 


then  they  grew  restless,  and  soon  disappeared,  as  Com 
modore  Jones  asserts  in  his  report  to  the  secretary  of 
the  navy  the  2 5th  of  October.25  Threats  and  entreat 
ies  were  alike  of  little  avail.  Jones  claims  to  have 
checked  desertion  in  his  ranks  by  offering  large  re 
wards;  but  if  the  publication  of  such  notices  produced 
any  marked  effect,  it  was  not  until  after  there  were 
few  left  to  desert.26 

In  the  midst  of  the  excitement,  however,  there  were 
men  who  remained  cairn,  and  here  and  there  were 
those  who  regarded  not  the  product  of  the  Sierra 
foothills  as  the  greatest  good.  Luis  Peralta,  who 
had  lived  near  upon  a  century,  called  to  him  his  sons, 
themselves  approaching  threescore  years,  and  said: 
"My  sons,  God  has  given  this  gold  to  the  Americans. 
Had  he  desired  us  to  have  it,  he  would  have  given  it 
to  us  ere  now.  Therefore  go  not  after  it,  but  let 
others  go.  Plant  your  lands,  and  reap;  these  be  your 

woods  till  dark,  and  then  came  into  town  for  provisions,  but  got  so  drunk 
that  on  starting  they  lost  the  road,  and  went  to  sleep  on  the  beach  opposite 
their  own  ship.  Just  before  daylight  one  of  them  awoke,  and  hearing  the 
ship's  bell  strike,  roused  the  others  barely  in  time  to  make  good  their  escape. 
Swan  afterward  met  them  in  the  mines.  Trip  to  the  Gold  Mines,  MS.,  3. 
Certain  volunteers  from  Lower  California  arriving  in  Monterey  formed  into 
companies,  helped  themselves  to  stores,  and  then  started  for  the  mines.  Green's 
Life  and  Adventures,  MS.,  11;  Californian,  Aug.  14,  1848.  The  offer  of  $100 
per  month  for  sailors,  made  by  Capt.  Allyn  of  the  Isaac  Walton,  brought 
forward  no  accepters.  Frisbie's  Remin.,  MS.,  30-2;  Ferry,  Col.,  325-6;  Sher- 
man's  Mem.,  i.  57;  Bigler's  Diary,  MS.,  78.. 

25  Xov.  2d  he  again  writes:  '  For  the  present,  and  I  fear  for  years  to  come,  it 
will  be  impossible  for  the  United  States  to  maintain  any  naval  or  military  es 
tablishment  in  California;  as  at  the  present  no  hope  of  reward  nor  fear  of 
punishment  is  sufficient  to  make  binding  any  contract  between  man  and  man 
upon  the  suil  of  California.     To  send  troops  out  here  would  be  needless,  for 
they  would  immediately  desert. .  .Among  the  deserters  from  the  squadron  are 
some  of  the  best  petty  officers  and  seamen,  having  but  few  months  to  serve, 
and  large  balances  due  them,  amounting  in  the  aggregate  to  over  $10,000.' 
William  Rich,  Oct.  23d,  writes  the  paymaster-general  that  nearly  all  of  Com 
pany  F,  3d  artillery,  had  deserted.     The  five  men-of-war  in  port  dared  not 
land  a  man  through  fear  of  desertion.     Two  companies  alone  remained  in  Cal., 
one  of  the  first  dragoons  arid  the  other  of  the  3d  artillery,  *the  latter  reduced 
to  a  mere  skeleton  by  desertion,  and  the  former  in  a  fair  way  to  share  the 
same  fate.'  Hevere's  Tour  of  Duty,  252-6;  Sherman's  Mem.,  i.  56-7;  Lants, 
KaL,  24-31. 

26  In   Nov.   the   commander  gave  notice   through   the    Californian  that 
$40,000  would  be  given  for  the  capture  of  deserters  from  his  squadron,  in  the  fol 
lowing  sums:  for  the  first  four  deserting  since  July,  $500  each,  and  for  any 
others,  $200  each,  the  reward  to  be  paid  in  silver  dollars  immediately  on  the 
delivery  of  any  culprit. 

HIST.  CAL.,  VOL.  VI.    5 


best  gold-fields,  for  all  must  eat  while  they  live."27 
Others  looked  around  and  saw  with  prophetic  eye  the 
turn  in  the  tide  when  different  resources  must  spring 
into  prominence;  not  only  land  grants  with  farms  and 
orchards,  and  forests  with  their  varied  products,  but 
metals  and  minerals  of  a  baser  kind,  as  quicksilver, 
copper,  coal.28  They  foresaw  the  rush  from  abroad  of 
gold-seekers,  the  gathering  of  vast  fleets,  the  influx 
of  merchandise,  with  their  consequent  flow  of  traffic 
and  trade,  the  rise  of  cities  and  the  growth  of  settle 
ments.  Those  were  the  days  of  great  opportunities, 
when  a  hundred  properly  invested  would  soon  have 
yielded  millions.  We  might  have  improved  an  oppor 
tunity  like  Sutter's  better  than  he  did.  So  we  think; 
yet  opportunities  just  as  great  perhaps  present  them 
selves  to  us  every  day,  and  will  present  themselves, 
but  we  do  not  see  them. 

27  Archives  Santa   Cruz,  MS.,  107;   HalVs  Hist.,  190-1;   Larkin's  Doc., 
MS.,  vi. 

28  Men  began  to  quarrel  afresh  over  the  New  Almaden  claim,  now  aban 
doned  by  its  workmen  for  more  fascinating  fields;  in  the  spring  of  this  year 
the  country  round  Clear  Lake  had  been  searched  for  copper. 





ONE  of  the  first  to  realize  the  importance  of  Mar 
shall's  discovery  was  Isaac  Humphrey,  the  Georgia 
miner  before  mentioned,  who  accompanied  Bennett 
on  his  return  to  Suiter's  Fort,  after  the  failure  to 
obtain  a  grant  of  the  gold  region.  Humphrey  advised 
^ome  of  his  friends  to  go  with  him  to  seek  gold,  but 
they  only  laughed  at  him.  He  reached  Coloma  on 
the  7th  of  March;  the  8th  saw  him  out  prospecting 
with  a  pan;  the  9th  found  him  at  work  with  a  rocker. 
The  application  of  machinery  to  mining  in  California 
was  begun.  A  day  or  two  later  came  to  the  mill  a 
French  Canadian,  Jean  Baptiste  Ruelle  by  name,  com 
monly  called  Baptiste,  who  had  been  a  miner  in  Mex 
ico,  a  trapper,  and  general  backwoodsman.  Impressed 
by  the  geologic  features  of  that  region,  and  yet  more 
perhaps  by  an  ardent  fancy,  he  had  five  years  before 
applied  to  Sutter  for  an  outfit  to  go  and  search  for 
gold  in  the  mountains.  Sutter  declined,  deeming  him 
unreliable,  but  gave  him  occupation  at  the  whip-saw 
on  Weber  Creek,  ten  miles  east  of  Coloma.  After 





examining  the  diggings  at  Coloma,  he  declared  there 
must  be  gold  also  on  the  creek,  wondered  he  had  never 
found  it  there;  indeed,  the  failure  to  do  so  seems 
stupidity  in  a  person  so  lately  talking  about  gold-find 
ing.  Nevertheless,  he  with  Humphrey  was  of  great 
service  to  the  inexperienced  gold-diggers,  initiating 
them  as  well  in  the  mysteries  of  prospecting,  or  seek 
ing  for  gold,  as  in  washing  it  out,  or  separating  it 
from  the  earth.1 

So  it  was  with  John  Bid  well,  who  came  to  Coloma 
toward  the  latter  part  of  March.2  Seeing  the  gold 
and  the  soil,  he  said  there  were  similar  indications  in 
the  vicinity  of  his  rancho,  at  Chico.  Returning  home 
he  searched  the  streams  thereabout,  and  was  soon  at 
work  with  his  native  retainers  on  Feather  River,  at 
the  rich  placer  which  took  the  name  of  Bidwell  Bar.3 
Not  long  after  Bidwell's  visit  to  Coloma,4  P.  B. 
Reading  arrived  there.  He  also  was  satisfied  that 
there  was  gold  near  his  rancho  at  the  northern  end 
of  the  great  valley,  and  finding  it,  he  worked  the 

1  Humphrey  died  at  Victoria,  B.  C.,  Dec.  1,  1867.  Alta  CaL,  Dec.  4,  1867. 
Hittell,  Mining,  15,  ascribes  to  the  Frenchman  the  first  use  of  pan  and  rocker 
on  the  coast. 

2 He  says  that  Humphrey,  Ruelle,  and  others  were  at  work  'with  pans  in 
some  ravines  on  the  north  side  of  the  river.'  BklweWs  Col.  1841-8,  MS.,  232. 
He  makes  no  mention  of  any  rocker,  although  the  machine  must  have  been 
new  to  him.  It  may  have  been  there  for  all  that. 

3  'On  my  return  to  Chico  I  stopped  over  night  at  Hamilton  on  the  west 
bank  of  Feather  River.  On  trying  some  of  the  sand  in  the  river  here  I  found 
light  particles  of  gold,  and  reckoned  that  if  light  gold  could  be  found  that  far 
down  the  river,  the  heavier  particles  would  certainly  remain  near  the  hills. 
On  reaching  Chico  an  expedition  was  organized,  but  it  took  some  time  to  get 
everything  ready.  We  had  to  send  twice  up  to  Peter  Lassen's  mill  to  obtain 
flour;  meat  had  to  be  dried,  and  wre  had  to  send  to  Sacramento  for  tools. 
Our  party  were  Mr  Dicky,  Potter,  John  Williams,  William  Northgraves, 
and  myself.  We  passed  near  Cherokee  and  up  on  the  north  fork.  In  nearly 
all  the  places  we  prospected  we  found  the  color.  One  evening,  while  camped 
at  White  Rocks,  Dicky  and  I  in  a  short  time  panned  out  about  an  ounce  of 
fine  gold.  The  others  refused  to  prospect  any,  and  said  the  gold  we  had 
obtained  was  so  light  that  it  would  not  weigh  anything.  At  this  time  we 
were  all  unfamiliar  with  the  weight  of  gold-dust,  but  I  am  satisfied  that 
what  we  had  would  have  weighed  an  ounce.  At  length  we  came  home  and 
some  of  the  men  went  to  the  American  River  to  mine.  Dicky,  Northgraves, 
and  I  went  to  what  is  now  Bidwell's  Bar,  and  there  found  gold  and  went  to 
mining.'  BidweWs  CaL  1841-8,  MS.,  232-3;  Sac.  Union,  Oct.  24,  1864. 

*  Sutter,  in  N.  Helv.  Diary,  says  he  left  the  fort  April  18th  with  Reading 
and  Edwin  Kemble,  was  absent  four  days,  and  beside  gold  saw  silver  and  iron 
in  abundance. 


deposits  near  Clear  Creek  with  his  Indians.  Mean 
while  the  metal  was  discovered  at  several  inter 
mediate  points,5  especially  along  the  tributaries  and 
ravines  of  the  south  fork,  which  first  disclosed  it. 
Thus  at  one  leap  the  gold-fields  extended  their  line 
northward  two  hundred  miles.  It  will  also  be  noticed 
that  after  the  Mormons  the  foremost  to  make  avail 
of  Marshall's  discovery  wrere  the  settlers  in  the  great 
valley,  who,  gathering  round  them  the  Indians  of 
their  vicinity,  with  such  allurements  as  food,  finery, 
alcohol,  went  their  several  ways  hunting  the  yellow 
stuff  up  and  down  the  creeks  and  gulches  in  every 
direction.  Sutter  and  Marshall  had  been  working 
their  tamed  Indians  at  Coloma  in  February.6 

As  the  field  enlarged,  so  did  the  visions  of  its  occu 
pants.  Reports  of  vast  yields  and  richer  and  richer 
diggings  began  to  fly  in  all  directions,  swelling  under 
distorted  fancy  and  lending  wings  to  flocking  crowds. 
In  May  the  influx  assumed  considerable  proportions, 
and  the  streams  and  ravines  for  thirty  miles  on  either 
side  of  Coloma  were  occupied  one  after  another.  The 
estimate  is,  that  there  were  then  already  800  miners 
at  work,  and  the  number  was  rapidly  increasing. 
Early  in  June  Consul  Larkin  estimated  them  at  2,000, 
mostly  foreigners,  half  of  whom  were  on  the  branches 
of  the  American.  There  might  have  been  100  fami 
lies,  with  teams  and  tents.  He  saw  none  who  had 
worked  steadily  a  month.  Few  had  come  prepared 
to  stay  over  a  week  or  a  fortnight,  and  no  matter  how 
rich  the  prospects,  they  were  obliged  to  return  home 
and  arrange  their  business.  Those  who  had  no  home 
or  business  must  go  somewhere  for  food. 

When  Mason  visited  the  mines  early  in  July,  he 
understood  that  4,000  men  were  then  at  work,  which 
certainly  cannot  be  called  exaggerated  if  Indians  are 

5  As  on  the  land  of  Leidesdorff,  on  the  American  River  just  above  Sutter's 
flour-mill,  about  the  middle  of  April.  S.  F.  Californian,  April  19,  1848;  Cal* 
ifornia  Star,  April  22,  1848. 

6  In  his  Diary,  under  date  of  April,  Sutter  says  that  some  of  his  neighbors 
had  been  very  successful. 


included.  By  the  turn  of  the  season,  in  October,  the 
number  had  certainly  doubled,  although  the  white 
mining  population  for  the  year  could  not  have  exceeded 
10,000  men.  Arrivals  in  1848  have  as  a  rule  been 
overestimated.  News  did  not  reach  the  outside  world 
in  time  for  people  to  come  from  a  distance  during 
that  year.7  It  is  impossible  to  trace  the  drift  of  the 
miners,  but  I  will  give  the  movements  of  the  leading 
men,  and,  so  far  as  they  have  come  under  my  observa 
tion,  the  founders  of  mining  camps  and  towns. 

The  success  of  Bidwell  in  the  north  was  quickly  re 
peated  by  others.  Two  miles  from  his  camp  on  the 
north  fork  of  Feather  River,  one  Potter  from  the 
Far  well  grant  opened  another  bar,  known  by  his  name. 
Below  Bidwell  Bar  lay  Long  Bar;  opposite,  Adams- 
town,  first  worked  by  Neal.  From  Lassen's  rancho 
went  one  Davis  and  camped  below  Morris  Ravine, 
near  Thompson  Flat.  Subsequently  Dye  and  com 
pany  of  Monterey  with  50  Indians  took  out  273  pounds 
in  seven  weeks,  from  mines  on  this  river.  The  abo 
rigines  began  to  work  largely  on  their  own  account, 

'Simpson  should  not  say  there  were  3,000  or  4,000  miners  at  work  three 
months  after  the  discovery  of  gold,  because  there  were  less  than  500;  four 
months  after  the  discovery  there  were  less  than  1,000;  nor  should  the  Reverend 
Colton  speak  of  50,000  in  Nov.,  when  less  than  10,000  white  men  were  at  work 
in  the  mines.  My  researches  indicate  a  population  in  California  in  the  middle 
of  1848  of  7,500  Hispano-Californians,  excluding  Indians,  and  6,500  Ameri 
cans,  with  a  sprinkling  of  foreigners.  Of  the  Californians,  probably  1,300 
went  to  the  mines,  out  of  a  possible  maximum  of  2,000  able  to  go,  allowing 
for  their  larger  families.  Of  the  Americans,  with  smaller  families  and  of 
more  roving  disposition,  soldiers,  etc.,  4,000  joined  the  rush.  Add  1,500 
Oregonians  and  northerners,  arriving  in  1848,  and  2,500  Mexicans,  Hawai- 
ians,  etc.,  and  we  have  a  total  mining  population  of  somewhat  over  9,000. 
Cal.  Star,  Sept.  2,  1848,  Dec.  9,  1848,  allows  2,000  Oregonians  to  arrive  in 
1848,  and  100  wagons  with  U.  S.  emigrants.  The  gov.  agent,  T.  B.  King, 
indicates  his  belief  in  a  population  at  the  end  of  1848  of  15,000,  or  a  little 
more.  Report,  15;  U.  S.  Gov.  Docs.,  31st  cong.  1st  sess.,  H.  Ex.  Doc.  59,  7. 
The  committee  of  the  Cal.  const,  convention,  in  statement  of  March  1850, 
assumad  a  population  of  26,000,  whereof  8,000  Americans,  5,000  foreigners, 
and  13,000  Californians,  but  the  last  two  estimates  are  excessive.  See  also 
Stillman's  Golden  Fleece,  32;  Mayer's  Mex.  Aztec,  ii.  393;  Grimshaw,  Narr., 
MS.,  enumerates  only  five  sea-going  vessels  at  San  Francisco  early  in  Nov. 
1848,  and  these  evidently  all  on  trading  trips,  and  as  late  as  Feb.  1849,  the 
First  Steamship  Pioneers,  found  only  a  few  ships  here.  It  is  difficult,  there 
fore,  to  make  up  5,000  foreign  arrivals  before  1849,  for  the  influx  from  Sonora 
is  shown  elsewhere  to  have  been  moderate  so  far. 


and  Bid  well  found  more  advantage  in  attending  to  a 
trading  post  opened  by  him.8 

The  success  on  Feather  River  led  to  the  explora 
tion  of  its  main  tributary,  the  Yuba,  by  Patrick  Mc- 
Christian,  J.  P.  Leese,  Jasper  O'Farrell,  William 
Leery,  and  Samuel  Norris,  who  left  Sonoma  in  July, 
and  were  the  first  to  dig  there  for  gold,  making  in 
three  months  $75,000  9  The  diggings  on  the  Yuba 
were  subsequently  among  the  most  famous  in  Califor 
nia,  and  form  the  scene  perhaps  of  more  of  the  incidents 
and  reminiscences  characteristic  of  the  mining  days 
than  any  other  locality.  The  leading  bars  or  camps 
were  those  of  Parks,  Long,  and  Foster,  where  miners, 
although  poorly  supplied  with  implements,  made  from 
$60  to  $100  a  day;  and  it  is  supposed  that  they 
lost  more  gold  than  they  saved,  on  account  of  the 
clumsiness  of  their  implements.10  Below,  on  Bear 
River,  J.  Tyrwhitt  Brooks  camped  with  a  party.11 
Reading  extended  his  field  to  Trinity  River,  the  most 
northerly  point  reached  in  1848;  but  he  had  the  mis 
fortune  to  encounter  a  company  of  Oregon ians  on 
their  way  south,  and  these,  imbittered  against  all 

*BidwelVsCal.  1841-8,  MS.,  231-3;  Seeton,  in  Oroville  Mer.,  Dec.  31, 1875. 

9  McChristian,  in  Pioneer  Sketches,  MS. ,  9.    Jonas  Speot  states  in  his  Diary, 
MS.,  that  he  found  gold  on  the  Yuba,  near  Long  Bar,  June  1st.     See  also 
Yolo  Co.  Hist.,  33;   Yuba  Co.  Hist.,  36. 

10  Parks  Bar  on  the  Yuba  was  discovered  in  August  by  Stephen  Cooper, 
John  Marsh,  John  P.  Long  and  two  brothers,  Clay,  Willis,  and  Nicholas 
Hunsaker,  who  afterward  held  important  positions  in  Contra  Costa  county. 
Charles  Covillaud  opened  a  store  there  later,  and  employed  a  number  of  In 
dians  to  dig  gold  for  him.     He  married,  on  Christmas,  1848,  Mary  Murphy, 
one  of  the  survivors  of  the  Donner  party.     He  purchased  the  rancho  where 
Marysville  now  stands,  laid  out  the  town,  and  named  it  for  his  wife.     Parks, 
from  whom  the  bar  was  named,  came  across  the  plains  in  1848.     Although 
fifty  miners  were  at  work  when  he  arrived,  and  had  been  for  some  time,  the 
bar  was  christened  after  him,  because  he  was  a  man  with  a  family,  and  more 
persons  answered  to  the  name  of  Parks  than  to  any  other.     See  account  by 
Juanita,  in  Sacramento  Rescue,  Jan.  26,  1871.     Juanita  was  a  young  Scotch 
man,  John  C.  McPherson  by  name,  with  considerable  literary  ability.     While 
mining  at  Long  Bar  he  composed  a  song  in  praise  of  the  Yuba,  which  became 
a  favorite  among  the  miners,  and  has  been  frequently  printed.     Long  tar 
was  named  after  Dr  Long.     Burnett  and  a  number  of  his  companions  from 
Oregon  began  their  gold-seeking  at  this  point.     The  population  was  then  80 
men,  3  women,  and  5  children.     Foster  Bar  was  one  of  the  last  opened  in  1848. 
The  gravelly  clay  dirt,  often  twelve  feet  from  the  surface,  was  hard  to  work. 

11  Brooks'  Four  Month*,  119-28.     His  party  obtained  115  Ibs  of  gold  by 
Sept     Later,  Buffum  tried  and  failed. 


Indians  by  the  recent  bloody  wars  in  which  they  had 
been  engaged  with  their  own  aborigines,  drove  him 
and  his  party  of  natives  away  from  what  afterward 
proved  to  be  an  exceedingly  rich  locality.12 

Early  in  June  John  Sinclair  went  from  his  rancho, 
near  New  Helvetia,  to  the  junction  of  the  north  and 
south  branches  of  the  American  River,  twelve  miles 
above  his  house,  and  there  worked  fifty  natives  with 
good  success.  During  the  same  month  a  party  of 
Mormons  abandoned  their  claim  on  the  south  branch 
of  the  American  River,  and  crossing  to  the  middle 
tributary,  discovered  the  deposits  on  what  was  later 
known  as  Spanish  Bar,  twelve  miles  north-east  from 
Coloma.  This  stream  was  the  richest  of  any  in  all 
that  rich  region,  this  one  spot  alone  yielding  more 
than  a  million  of  dollars. 

Into  a  ravine  between  the  north  and  middle  branches 
of  the  American  River,  fifteen  miles  north-east  of 
Coloma,  stumbled  one  day  an  Irishman,  to  whom  in 
raillery  had  been  given  the  nickname  Yankee  Jim, 
which  name,  applied  to  the  rich  deposit  he  there  found, 
soon  became  famous.  A  few  miles  to  the  north-east 
of  Yankee  Jim  were  Illinoistown  and  Iowa  Hill, 
found  and  named  by  persons  from  the  states  indicated. 
W.  R.  Longley,  once  alcalde  at  Monterey,  was 
followed  by  Dr  Todd  into  the  place  named  Todd 
Valley.  Hereabout  remained  many  Mormons,  who 
forgot  their  desert  destination,  turned  publicans,  and 
waxed  fat.  There  were  Hannon,  one  wife  and  two 
daughters,  who  kept  the  Mormon  House;  Wickson 
and  wife,  the  house  to  which  under  their  successor 
was  given  the  name  Franklin;  while  Blackmail  kept 
an  inn  at  one  of  the  fifty  Dry  Diggings,  which,  at 
the  great  renaming,  became  known  as  Auburn.13 

12  Weaverville  Trinity  Journal,  June  20,  1874;  Pacific  Rural  Press,  quoted 
in  M freed  People,  June  8,  1872. 

13 Ferry,  Col.,  105-6;  Oakland  Transcript,  April  13,  1873;  Alamrda 
Co.  Gazette,  April  19,  1873;  Hutchings'  May.,  vol.  ii.  197.  On  these  streams 
some  deserters  realized  within  a  few  days  from  $5,000  to  §20,000  each,  and 
then  left  California  by  the  first  conveyance.  Carson's  Early  Recollections,  6; 


North  of  Coloma  Kelsey  and  party  opened  the 
diggings  which  took  his  name.  South  of  it  Weber 
Creek  rose  into  fame  under  the  discoveries  of  a  com 
pany  from  Weber's  grant,  now  Stockton,  including 
some  Hispano-Californians.  After  a  trip  to  the  Stan 
islaus,  and  a  more  favorable  trial  on  the  Mokelumne, 
with  deep  diggings,  they  proceeded  on  their  route, 
finding  gold  everywhere,  and  paused  on  the  creek, 
at  a  point  about  twelve  miles  from  the  saw-mill. 
There  they  made  their  camp,  which  later  took  the 
name  of  Weberville;  and  while  some  remained  to 
mine,  the  rest  returned  to  Weber's  rancho  for  supplies. 
Trade  no  less  than  gold-digging  being  the  object,  a 
joint-stock  association,  called  the  Stockton  Mining 
Company,  was  organized,  with  Charles  M.  Weber  as 
the  leading  member.14  The  company,  although  very 
successful  with  its  large  native  corps,  was  dissolved 
in  September  of  the  same  year  by  Weber,  who  wished 
to  turn  his  attention  exclusively  to  building  a  town 
upon  his  grant.15  On  the  creek  were  also  Sunol  and 
company,  who  employed  thirty  Indians,  and  Neligh. 

The  Stockton  company  had  scarcely  been  established 
at  Weber  Creek  when  a  man  belonging  to  the  party  of 
William  Daylor,  a  ranchero  from  the  vicinity  of  New 
Helvetia,  struck  into  the  hills  one  morning,  and  found 
the  mine  first  called,  in  common  with  many  other 

Buffum's  Six  Months,  77.     Sinclair  was  one  of  the  first  to  find  gold  on  the 
north  branch.  McChristian,  in  Pioneer  Sketches,  9. 

14  The  other  members  were  John  M.  Murphy,  Joseph  Bussel,  Andy  Baker, 
Pyle,  I.  S.  Isbel,  and  George  Frazer.     Not  having  at  hand  all  the  requisites 
for  the  outfit,  while  the  company  proceeded  to  \V  eber  Creek,  Weber  went  to 
San  Francisco  and  San  Jos6,  and  there  bought  beads,  calico,  clothing,  gro 
ceries,  and  tools,  which  were  sent  by  boat  to  Sutter's  embarcadero,  and  thence 
transported  by  wagons  to  Weber  Creek,  where  a  store  was  opened.     Among3t 
the  other  articles  purchased  was  a  quantity  of  silver  coin,  attractive  to  the 
natives  as  ornaments.     From  the  rancho  were  sent  beef,  cattle,  and  whatever 
else  was  available  for  use  or  sale.  Weber,  in  Tinkharrfs  Hist.  Stockton,  72. 
According  to  San  Joaquin  Co.  Hist.,  21,  there  were  other  prominent  members, 
but  they  were  more  likely  to  have  been  only  of  the  party,  and  may  have 
joined  at  another  time  and  place. 

15  Buffum,  Six  Months  in  the  Gold  Mines,  92,  says  that  William  Daylor,  a 
ranchero  near  Sutter's  Fort,  was  with  Weber  at  Weber  Creek,  and  that  the 
two  employed  1 ,000  Indians  and  took  out  $50,000.  See,  further,  Carson's  Early 
Rec,,  5;  S.  F.  Bulletin,  Aug.  13,  1859;  Alta  CaL,  July  31,  1856;  Brooks'  Four 
Months,  93. 


spots,  Dry  Diggings,  afterward  Hangtown,  and  later 
Placerville.16  It  proved  exceedingly  rich,  yielding 
from  three  ounces  to  five  pounds  of  gold  daily  to  the 
man;  and  from  the  middle  of  June,  through  July  and 
August,  the  300  Hangtown  men  were  the  happiest 
in  the  universe. 

Thus  far  extended  the  northern  district,  which  em 
braced  the  tributaries  of  the  Sacramento  and  the  north 
side  of  the  Bay,17  and  centred  in  Colorna  as  the  point 
of  primary  attraction,  and  whence  fresh  discoveries 
radiated.  The  region  below,  tributary  to  the  San 
Joaquin,  was  largely  opened  by  Indians.18 

On  the  Stanislaus,  where  afterward  was  Knight's 
Ferry,  lived  an  Indian  known  to  white  men  as  Jose 
Jesus.  He  had  been  instructed  in  the  mysteries  of 
religion  and  civilization  by  the  missionaries,  and  was 
once  alcalde  at  San  Jose.  Through  some  real  or 
fancied  wrong  he  became  offended,  left  San  Jose,  and 
was  ever  after  hostile  to  the  Mexicans,  though  friendly 
to  others.  Tall,  well-proportioned,  and  possessed  of 
remarkable  ability,  with  the  dress  and  dignified  mari 
ner  of  a  Mexican  of  the  better  class,  he  commanded 

*Buffum's  Six  Months,  92-3;  Ferry,  CaL,  105-6.  'The  gulches  and  ra 
vines  were  opened  about  two  feet  wide  and  one  foot  in  depth  along  their  cen 
tres,  and  the  gold  picked  out  from  amongst  the  dirt  with  a  knife.'  Carson's 
Early  Rec.,  5. 

17  The  Calif  or  nian  states  that  about  this  time  there  were  many  gold-seekers 
digging  in  the  vicinity  of  Sonoma  and  Santa  Rosa. 

18  A  map,  entitled  Positions  of  the   Upper  and  Lower  Gold  Mines  on  the 
South  Fork  of  the  American  River,  California,  July  20,  1848,  is  probably  the 
earliest  map  made  expressly  to  show  any  part  of  the  gold  region,  unless  it  was 
preceded  by  another  on  a  larger  scale  of  the  same  diggings,  which  bears  no 
date.     There  is,  however,  another  map,  which  is  dated  only  five  days  later 
than  the  first  mentioned,  and  is  entitled,  Topographical  Sketch  of  the  Gold 
and  Quicksilver  District  of  California,  July  25,  1848,  E.  0.  C.  D.,  Lt  U.  S.  A. 
This  is  not  confined  to  one  locality,  but  embraces  the  country  west  of  the 
Sierra  Nevada  from  lat.  37°  to  40°,  and  has  marked  on  it  all  the  places  where 
gold  had  been  found  at  that  date.     A  Map  of  the  Southern  Mines,  by  C.  D. 
Gibbes,  1852,  accompanies  Carson's  Early  Recollections.     The  many  books  and 
pamphlets  published  about  California  in  Europe  and  the  eastern  states  in  1 848-9 
generally  contained  inferior  maps,  and  in  some  cases  an  attempt  was  made  to 
show  the  gold  regions.     Such  may  be  found,  for  instance,  in  Foster's  Gold 
Regions;   Wilkes'    Western  America;   Brooks'  Four  Months  among  the  Gold- 

Jinders;  Hartmami's  Geog.  Stat.;  Beschreibung  von  CaL;  Hoppers  Cal.  Geaen* 
wart;  Oswald,  Californien;  Cohorts  Three  Years;  and  many  other  similar 
works.  The  earliest  purely  geological  map  appears  in  Tyson's  Report,  pub 
lished  by  the  war  department  in  1849. 


universal  respect,  and  on  the  death  of  Estanislao,  that 
is  to  say,  Stanislaus,  chief  of  the  Wallas,  Jose  Jesus 
was  chosen  his  successor.  Courting  the  friendship  of 
this  savage,  Weber  had  through  the  intervention  of 
Sutter  made  him  his  firm  ally.  On  organizing  the 
Stockton  company,  W^eber  requested  of  Jose  Jesus 
some  able-bodied  members  of  his  tribe,  such  as  would 
make  good  gold-diggers.  The  chief  sent  him  twenty- 
five,  who  were  despatched  to  Weber  Creek  and  given 
lessons  in  mining;  after  which  they  were  directed  to 
return  to  the  Stanislaus,  there  to  dig  for  gold,  and  to 
carry  the  proceeds  of  their  labor  to  French  Camp, 
where  the  mayordomo  would  pay  them  in  such  articles 
as  they  best  loved.19 

This  shrewd  plan  worked  well.  The  gold  brought 
in  by  the  natives  proved  coarser  than  any  yet  found. 
Weber  and  the  rest  were  delighted,  and  the  Stockton 
company  determined  at  once  to  abandon  Weber  Creek 
and  remove  to  the  Stanislaus,  which  was  done  in  Au 
gust.  The  news  spreading,  others  went  with  them; 
a  large  emigration  set  in,  including  some  subsequently 
notable  persons  who  gave  their  names  to  different 

5 laces,  as  Wood  Creek,  Angel  Camp,  Sullivan  Bar, 
amestown,  Don  Pedro  (Sansevain)  Bar.     Murphy 
Camp  was  named  from  John  M.  Murphy,  one  of  the 
partners.20     William  Knight  established  the  trading 
post  at   the  point    now  known   as   Knight's   Ferry. 

19 They  met  with  rare  success,  if  the  writer  in  San  Joaquin  Co.  Hist.,  21, 
is  to  be  believed.  They  found,  he  says,  in  July  a  lump  of  pure  gold,  weigh 
ing  80£  ounces  avoirdupois,  the  general  form  of  the  nugget  being  that  of 
a  kidney.  Its  rare  beauty,  purity,  and  size  prompted  the  firm  of  Cross  & 
Hobson  of  San  Francisco  to  paj'  for  it  $3, 000... to  send  to  the  Bank  of 
England,  as  a  specimen  from  the  newly  discovered  gold-fields  of  California. 
Gold-dust-was  selling  at  that  time  for  $12  per  ounce,  and  the  specimen,  had  it 
sold  only  for  its  value  as  metal,  would  have  yielded  the  Stockton  Mining 
Company  only  $966. 

*"San  Joaquin  Co.  Hist.,  21.  Carson  says,  Early  Rec.,  6:  '  In  August  the 
old  diggings  were  pronounced  as  being  dug  out,  and  many  prospecting  parties 
had  gone  out.  Part  of  Weber's  trading  establishments  had  secretly  disap 
peared,  and  rumors  were  afloat  that  the  place  where  all  the  gold  came  from 
had  been  discovered  south,  and  a  general  rush  of  the  miners  commenced  that 
day. '  Tinkham  asserts  that  Weber  proclaimed  the  discovery  on  the  Stanis 
laus,  and  was  willing  every  one  should  go  there  who  wished.  The  greater 
the  number  of  people  the  more  goods  would  be  required. 


Such  was  the  richness  of  the  field  that,  at  Wood 
Creek,  Wood,  Savage,  and  Heffernan  were  said  to 
have  taken  out  for  some  time,  with  pick  and  knife 
alone,  $200  or  $300  a  day  each. 

The  intermediate  region,  along  the  Mokelumne  and 
Cosumnes,  had  already  become  known  through  parties 
en  route  from  the  south,  such  as  Weber's  partners. 
J.  H.  Carson  was  directed  by,  an  Indian  to  Carson 
Creek,  where  he  and  his  companions  in  ten  days 
gathered  180  ounces  each.  Angel  camped  at  An 
gel  Creek.  Sutter,  who  had  for  a  time  been  mining 
ten  miles  above  Mormon  Island  with  100  Indians  and 
50  kanakas,  came  in  July  to  Sutter  Creek.  Two 
months  later,  when  further  gold  placers  on  the  Co 
sumnes  were  discovered,  Jose  de  Jesus  Pico  with  ten 
men  left  San  Luis  Obispo  and  proceeded  through 
Livermore  pass  to  the  Arroyo  Seco  of  that  locality 
and  began  to  mine.  In  four  months  he  obtained  suf 
ficient  to  pay  his  men  and  have  a  surplus  of  $14,000.21 

Mokelumne  or  Big  Bar  was  now  fast  rising  in 
importance.  A  party  from  Oregon  discovered  it  early 
in  October  and  were  highly  successful.  Their  num 
ber  induced  one  Syrec  to  drive  in  a  wagon  laden  with 
provisions,  a  venture  which  proved  so  fortunate  that 
he  opened  a  store  in  the  beginning  of  November,  on 
a  hill  one  mile  from  where  the  first  mine  was  discov 
ered.  This  became  a  trade  centre  under  the  name  of 
Mokelumne  Hill. 

The  richest  district  in  this  region,  however,  was 
beginning  to  appear  on  the  head  waters  of  the  Tuol- 
umne,  round  the  later  town  of  Sonora,  which  took  its 
name  from  the  party  of  Mexicans  from  Sonora  who 
discovered  it.22  The  Tuolumne  may  be  regarded  as 
the  limit  of  exploration  southward  in  1848.  It  was 

21  Pico,  Acontecimientox,  MS.,  77. 

22  Amongst  the  first  who  helped  to  settle  Sonora  in  1848-9  were  Joshua 
Holden,  Emanuel   Lindberg,  Casimir   Labetour,  Alonzo   Green,  Hiram  W. 
Theall,  R.  S.   Ham,  Charles  F.  Dodge,  Theophilus   Dodge,  Terence  Clark, 
James  Lane,  William   Shepperd,  Alfred  W.  Luckett,  Benjamin    F.  Moore, 
William  Norlinn,  Francisco  Pavia,  Jos<§  M.  Bosa,  Elordi,  Remigio  Riveras, 
and  James  Frasier.  Hayes1  CaL  Mining,  i.  33. 


reached  in  August,  so  that  before  the  summer  months 
closed  all  the  long  Sierra  base-line,  as  I  have  described, 
had  been  overrun  by  the  gold-seekers,  the  subsequent 
months  of  the  year  being  devoted  to  closer  develop 
ments.23  One  reason  for  the  limitation  was  the  hos 
tility  of  the  natives,  who  had  in  particular  taken  an 
aversion  to  the  Mexican  people,  or  Hispano-Califor- 
nians,  their  old  taskmasters,  and  till  lately  prominent 
in  pursuing  them  for  enslavement. 

These  Californians  very  naturally  halted  along  the 
San  Joaquin  tributaries,  which  lay  on  the  route  taken 
from  the  southern  settlements,  and  were  reported  even 
richer  than  the  northern  mines.  Among  them  was 
Antonio  Franco  Coronel,  with  a  party  of  thirty,  who 
had  left  Los  Angeles  in  August  by  way  of  San  Jose 
and  Livermore  pass.24  Priests  as  well  as  publicans, 
it  appears,  were  possessed  by  the  demon  in  those  days; 
for  at  the  Sari  Joaquin  Coronel  met  Padre  Jose 
Maria  Suarez  del  Real  who  showed  him  a  bag  of  gold 
which  he  claimed  to  have  brought  from  the  Stanislaus 
camp,  that  is  to  say,  Sonora,  recently  discovered. 
This  decided  Coronel  and  party'  to  go  to  the  Stanis 
laus,  where  they  found  a  company  of  New  Mexicans, 
lately  arrived,  a  few  Americans,  as  well  as  native 
Californians  from  San  Jose  and  proximate  places.  To 
the  camp  where  Coronel  halted  came  seven  savages, 

25  Carson's  Early  Recollections,  6-7;  Stockton  Independent,  Sept.  14,  1872; 
Fiitdla's  Statement,  MS.,  7;  San  Andreas  Independent,  Jan.  1861;  Jansen, 
Vida  y  Aventuras,  198-200;  Pico,  Acontecimientos,  77.  According  to  a  state 
ment  published  in  the  Altaol  Oct.  15,  1851,  in  the  summer  of  1848  one  Bomon, 
a  Spanish  doctor,  while  travelling  with  a  large  party  of  Spaniards,  Italians,  and 
Frenchmen  in  the  southern  part  of  the  state,  came  upon  a  river  so  rich  in  gold 
that  with  their  knives  they  took  out  five  or  six  ounces  a  day  to  the  man. 
They  got  into  trouble  with  the  natives,  however,  who  killed  48  of  the  party, 
and  forced  the  rest  to  flee  for  their  lives.  Bomon  set  out  from  Mariposa  dig 
gings  with  some  companions  in  1851  in  search  of  this  placer,  and  at  the  same 
time  a  French  company  left  the  same  place  with  a  similar  object;  but  both 
expeditions  failed.  The  narrator  thinks  that  this  might  have  been  Kern 
River,  but  the  whole  story  is  probably  fiction. 

24  The  account  I  take  from  the  valuable  manuscript,  written  at  the  dicta 
tion  of  Coronel  by  Mr  Savage  in  1877,  Cosas  de  California,  For  ft  Senor  Don 
Antonio  Franco  Coronel,  vecino  de  la  Ciudad  de  Los  Anyeles.  Obra  en  que  el 
antor  trata  particnlarmtnte  de  lo  que  acontecio  en  la  parte  del  sur  durante  los 
anosde  1846  y  1847. 


wishing  to  buy  from  him  and  his  party,  and  offering 
large  quantities  of  gold  for  such  articles  as  took  their 
fancy.  One  of  Coronel's  servants,  Benito  Perez,  was 
an  expert  in  placer-mining.  Struck  with  the  display 
made  by  the  natives,  he  proposed  to  his  master  to  let 
him  have  one  of  his  dumb  Indians  as  a  companion,  so 
that  he  might  follow,  and  see  whenc'e  the  savages  ob 
tained  their  gold.  It  was  dark  before  the  Indians 
had  finished  their  purchases  and  set  out  for  home,  but 
Benito  Perez,  with  Indian  Agustin,  kept  stealthily 
upon  their  tracks,  to  the  rancheria  where  Captain 
Estanislao  had  formerly  lived. 

Perez  passed  the  night  upon  a  hill  opposite  the  ran 
cheria  hidden  among  the  trees,  and  waiting  for  the 
Indians.  Early  the  following  morning  the  same  seven 
started  for  the  gold-fields,  taking  their  way  toward  the 
east,  followed  by  the  Mexican  and  his  companion. 
At  a  place  afterward  called  Canada  del  Barro  the 
seven  began  to  dig  with  sharp-pointed  stakes,  where 
upon  Perez  presented  himself.  The  Indians  were  evi 
dently  annoyed;  but  Perez  set  to  work  with  his  knife, 
and  in  a  short  time  obtained  three  ounces  in  chispas, 
or  nuggets.  Satisfied  with  his  discovery,  he  went 
back  to  Coronel.  The  two  determined  to  take  secret 
possession;  but  eventually  Coronel  thought  it  would 
be  but  right  to  inform  his  companions,  especially  as 
Perez'  report  indicated  the  mine  to  be  rich.  Secrecy 
was  moreover  of  little  use;  their  movements  were 
watched.  In  order  not  to  delay  matters,  Perez  was 
despatched  with  two  dumb  Indians  to  secure  the 
richest  plats.  This  done,  Coronel  and  the  rest  of  his 
friends  started,  though  late  in  the  night.  Such  was 
their  eagerness,  that  on  reaching  the  ground  they  spent 
the  night  in  alloting  claims  in  order  to  begin  work  at 

Everybody  was  well  satisfied  with  the  first  day's 
working.  Coronel,  with  his  two  dumb  Indians,  ob 
tained  forty-five  ounces  of  coarse  gold.  Dolores  Se- 
pulveda,  who  was  busy  a  few  yards  away,  picked  up  a 


nugget  fully  twelve  ounces  in  weight;  and  though 
there  were  more  than  a  hundred  persons  round  about, 
all  had  great  success.  On  the  same  bar  where  Sepul- 
veda  found  the  nugget  worked  Valdes,  alias  Cha- 
pamango,  a  Californian  of  Santa  Barbara,  who,  by 
digging  to  the  depth  of  three  feet,  discovered  a 
pocket  which  had  been  formed  by  a  large  rock  break 
ing  the  force  of  the  current  and  detaining  quantities 
of  gold.  He  picked  up  enough  to  fill  a  large  towel, 
and  then  passed  round  to  make  known  his  good  for 
tune.  Thinking  that  he  had  money  enough,  he  sold 
his  claim  to  Lorenzo  Soto,  who  took  out  in  eight  days 
52  pounds  of  gold.  Water  was  then  struck,  when  the 
claim  was  sold  to  Machado  of  San  Diego,  who  also, 
in  a  short  time,  secured  a  large  quantity  of  gold. 

Coronel,  leaving  his  servants  at  his  claim,  started 
to  inspect  the  third  bar  of  the  Barro  Canada,  with  an 
experienced  gambusino  of  the  Sonorans  known  as 
Chino  Tirador.  Choosing  a  favorable  spot,  the  gam 
busino  marked  out  his  claim,  and  Coronel  took  up  his 
a  little  lower.  The  Chino  set  to  work,  and  at  the 
depth  of  four  feet  found  a  pocket  of  gold  near  an  un 
derground  rock  which  divided  the  two  claims.  From 
nine  o'clock  in  the  morning  till  four  in  the  afternoon 
he  lay  gathering  the  gold  with  a  horn  spoon,  throw 
ing  it  into  a  wooden  tray  for  the  purpose  of  dry-wash 
ing.  By  this  time  the  tray  had  become  so  filled  with 
cleaned  gold  that  the  man  could  hardly  carry  it. 
Tired  with  his  work  he  returned  to  camp,  giving  Co 
ronel  permission  to  work  his  claim.  The  latter  was 
only  too  glad  to  do  so,  for  with  a  great  deal  more  labor, 
and  with  the  assistance  of  his  servant,  he  had  not 
succeeded  in  obtaining  six  ounces.  During  the  brief 
daylight  remaining  Coronel  made  ample  amends  for 
previous  shortcomings.  The  Chino's  luck  caused 
great  excitement  in  the  camp,  where  he  offered  to 
sell  clean  gold  for  silver;  and  had  disposed  of  a  con 
siderable  quantity  when  Coronel  arrived  and  bought 
seventy-six  ounces  at  the  rate  of  two  dollars  and  a 


half  the  ounce.  The  next  day  the  Chino  returned  to 
his  claim;  but  as  large  numbers  had  been  working  it 
by  night,  with  the  aid  of  candles,  he  decided  on  aban 
doning  the  mine  and  starting  upon  a  new  venture. 
Purchasing  a  bottle  of  whiskey  for  a  double-handful 
of  gold,  and  spreading  a  blanket  on  the  ground,  he 
opened  a  monte  bank.  By  ten  o'clock  that  night  he 
was  both  penniless  and  drunk.25  Such  is  one  of  the 
many  phases  of  mining  as  told  by  the  men  of  1848. 

25  Coronet,  Cosas  de  CaL,  MS.,  146-51. 
HIST.  CAL,.,  VOL.  VI.    6 





SOCIETY  in  California  from  the  beginning  presents 
itself  in  a  multitude  of  phases.  First  there  is  the 
aboriginal,  wild  and  tame,  half  naked,  eating  his  grass 
hopper  cake,  and  sleeping  in  his  hut  of  bushes,  or 
piously  sunning  himself  into  civilization  upon  an  adobe 
mission  fence,  between  the  brief  hours  of  work  and 
prayer;  next  the  Mexicanized  European,  priest  and 
publican,  missionary  and  military  man,  bland  yet  co 
ercive,  with  the  work-hating  ranch ero  and  settler; 
and  then  the  restless  rovers  of  all  nations,  particularly 
the  enterprising  and  impudent  Yankee.  With  the 
introduction  of  every  new  element,  and  under  the  de 
velopments  of  every  new  condition,  the  face  of  society 
changes,  and  the  heart  of  humanity  pulsates  with 
fresh  purposes  and  aspirations. 

The  year  of  1848  has  its  individuality.  It  is  dif 
ferent  from  every  other  California  year  before  or 
since.  The  men  of  '48  were  of  another  class  from 
the  men  of  '49.  We  have  examined  the  ingredients 
composing  the  community  of  1848 ;  the  people  of  1849 
will  in  due  time  pass  under  analysis.  Suffice  it  to  say 



here,  that  the  vile  and  criminal  element  from  the  con 
tinental  cities  of  civilization  and  the  isles  of  ocean, 
which  later  cursed  the  country,  had  not  yet  arrived. 
Those  first  at  the  mines  were  the  settlers  of  the  Cali 
fornia  Valley,  just  and  ingenuous,  many  of  them  with 
their  families  and  Indian  retainers;  they  were  neigh 
bors  and  friends,  who  would  not  wrong  each  other  in 
the  mountains  more  than  in  the  valley.  The  immi 
grants  from  the  Mississippi  border  were  accustomed 
to  honest  toil;  and  the  men  from  San  Francisco  Bay 
and  the  southern  seaboard  were  generally  acquainted, 
and  had  no  thought  of  robbing  or  killing  each  other. 

After  the  quiet  inflowing  from  the  valley  adjacent 
to  the  gold-fields  came  the  exodus  from  San  Francisco, 
which  began  in  May;  in  June  San  Jose,  Monterey, 
and  the  middle  region  contributed  their  quota,  followed 
in  July  and  August  by  the  southern  settlements. 
The  predominance  thus  obtained  from  the  start  by 
the  Anglo-American  element  was  well  sustained, 
partly  from  the  fact  that  it  was  more  attracted  by 
the  glitter  of  gold  than  the  lavish  and  indolent  ran- 
chero  of  Latin  extraction,  and  less  restrained  from 
yielding  to  it  by  ties  of  family  and  possessions.  The 
subsequent  influx  during  the  season  from  abroad  pre 
ponderated  in  the  same  direction.  It  began  in  Sep 
tember,  although  assuming  no  large  proportions  until 
two  months  later.  The  first  flow  came  from  the 
Hawaiian  Islands,  followed  by  a  larger  stream  from 
Oregon,  and  a  broad  current  from  Mexico  and  beyond, 
notably  of  Sonorans.  who  counted  many  experienced 
miners  in  their  ranks.  Early  in  the  season  came  also 
an  accidental  representation  from  the  Flowery  king 

It  is  not  to  be  denied  that  this  mixture  of  national 
ities,  with  a  tinge  of  inherited  antipathy,  and  variety 

1  Charles  V.  Gillespie,  who  reached  S.  F.  from  Hong-Kong  in  the  brig  Eagle, 
Feb.  2,  1848,  brought  three  Chinese,  two  men  and  a  woman.  The  men  sub 
sequently  went  to  the  mines.  These,  he  says,  were  the  first  Chinamen  in  Cal., 
with  the  exception  of  a  very  few  who  had  come  over  as  cooks  or  stewards  of 
vessels.  Gille^p^s  Viy.  Com.,  MS.,  1. 

84  AT  THE  MINES. 

of  character,  embracing  some  few  aimless  adventurers 
and  deserters  as  well  as  respectable  settlers,  could  not 
fail  to  bring  to  the  surface  some  undesirable  features. 
Yet  the  crimes  that  mar  this  period  are  strikingly  few 
in  comparison  with  the  record  of  the  following  years, 
when  California  was  overrun  by  the  dregs  of  the 
world's  society.  Indeed,  during  this  first  year  theft 
was  extremely  rare,  although  temptations  abounded, 
and  property  lay  almost  unguarded.2  Murder  and 
violence  were  almost  unknown,  and  even  disputes 
seldom  arose.  Circumstances  naturally  required  the 
miners  to  take  justice  into  their  own  hands;  }^et  with 
all  the  severity  and  haste  characterizing  such  admin 
istration,  I  find  only  two  instances  of  action  by  a 
popular  tribunal  in  the  mining  region.  In  one  case  a 
Frenchman,  a  notorious  horse-thief,  was  caught  in  the 
act  of  practising  his  profession  at  the  Dry  Diggings; 
in  the  other,  a  Spaniard  was  found  with  a  stolen  bag 
of  gold-dust  in  his  possession,  on  the  middle  branch 
of  the  American  River.3  Both  of  these  men  were 
tried,  convicted,  and  promptly  hanged  by  the  miners. 
It  has  been  the  fashion  to  ascribe  most  infringe 
ments  of  order  to  the  Latin  race,  mainly  because  the 
recorders  nearly  all  belonged  to  the  other  side,  and 
because  Anglo-Saxon  culprits  met  with  greater  leni 
ency,  while  the  least  infraction  by  the  obnoxious 
Spanish-speaking  southerner  was  met  by  exemplary 

2Degroot,  Six  Months  in  '49,  in  Overland  Monthly,  xiv.  321.  'Honest 
miners  left  their  sacks  of  gold-dust  exposed  in  their  tents,  without  fear  of  loss. 
Towards  the  close  of  the  year  a  few  robberies  and  murders  were  committed.' 
Burnett's  Recollections,  MS.,  ii.  142-3.  Gov.  Mason  writing  to  L.  W.  Has 
tings  from  New  Helvetia  Oct.  24,  1848,  says:  'Although  some  murders  have 
been  committed  and  horses  stolen  in  the  placer,  I  do  riot  lind  that  things  are 
worse  here,  if  indeed  they  are  so  bad,  as  they  were  in  our  own  mineral  re 
gions  some  years  ago,  when  I  was  stationed  near  them.'  U,  8.  Gov.  Docs, 
31st  cong.  1st  sess.,  H.  Ex.  Doc.  17.  On  the  other  hand,  I  find  complaints  of 
outrages  committed  by  disbanded  volunteers  at  Monterey.  Cat.  Star  and 
Calif ornian,  Dec.  9,  1848;  of  robbery  and  horse-thieving  around  the  bay 
missions,  by  a  gang  from  the  Tulare  Valley,  said  to  be  composed  chiefly  of 
deserters.  Dr  Marsh's  residence  on  the  Pulpunes  rancho  being  plundered. 
Cnl.  Star,  Feb.  26,  June  3,  1848. 

3  Hancock's  Thirteen  Years'  Residence  on  the  Northwest  Coast,  MS..  1 19-20; 
Carson's  Early  Recoil.,  26.  Early  instances  of  popular  punishment  of  crime 
at  San  Jos6  and  elsewhere  are  mentioned  in  Popular  Tribunals,  i.  67-9,  etc., 
tiiis  series. 


punishment  at  the  hands  of  the  overbearing  and  domi 
nant  northerner.  Even  during  these  early  days,  some 
of  the  latter  rendered  themselves  conspicuous  by 
encroachments  on  the  rights  of  the  former,  such  as 
unwarrantable  seizure  of  desirable  claims.*  While  the 
strict  and  prompt  treatment  of  crime  tended  to  main 
tain  order  in  the  mining  regions,  the  outskirts,  or 
rather  the  southern  routes  to  the  placers,  became  to 
ward  the  end  of  the  season  haunted  by  a  few  robbers.5 
Another  source  of  danger  remained  in  the  hostil 
ity  of  the  savages,  who,  already  imbittered  by  the 
encroachments  and  spoliation  suffered  in  the  coast 
valleys,  and  from  serf-hunting  expeditions,  naturally 
objected  to  an  influx  that  threatened  to  drive  them 
out  of  this  their  last  retreat  in  the  country.  This 
attitude,  indeed,  served  to  check  the  expansion  of  the 
mining  field  for  a  time.  In  the  south  it  was  mainly 
due  to  Mexican  aggression,  and  in  the  north  to  incon 
siderate  action  on  the  part  of  immigrants  and  Orego- 
nian  parties,  whose  prejudices  had  been  roused  by 
conflicts  on  the  plains  and  in  the  Columbia  region.6 

Mining  operations  so  far  embraced  surface  picking, 
shallow  digging  along  the  rivers  and  the  tributary 
ravines,  attended  by  washing  of  metal-bearing  soil, 
and  dry  diggings,  involving  either  laborious  convey 
ance,  or  'packing,'  of  'pay-dirt'  to  the  distant  water,  or 
the  bringing  of  water,  or  the  use  of  a  special  cleaning 
process.  This  feature  rendered  the  dry  diggings  more 
precarious  than  river  claims,  with  their  extensive  veins 

*  A.  Janssens  declares,  in  Viday  Avent.,  MS.,  that  he  and  several  friends 
were  threatened  in  life  and  property;  yet  in  their  case  all  was  amicably 
arranged,  after  many  contests. 

5  Men  whose  lack  of  success  in  the  gold-fields  prompted  to  an  indulgence 
of  hitherto  restrained  propensities.    There  are  always  travellers,  however,  who 
love  to  tell  thrilling  tales.     Janssens  relates  that,  on  turning  homeward  in 
Dec.,  his  small  party  was  recommended  to  avoid  the  main  road  to  and  from 
Stockton,  ami  speaks  of  the  two  headless  bodies  they  found  in  a  hut  of 

6  As  related  in  the  Merced  People,  June  8,  1872,  on  the  authority  of  Read 
ing.     Brooks,  Four  Months,  states  that  his  party  was  attacked  on  Bear  River, 
had  one  killed  and  two  wounded,  and  was  subsequently  robbed  of  70  pounds 
of  gold  by  bandits. 

86  AT  THE  MINES. 

of  fine  and  coarse  gold,  yielding  a  comparatively  steady 
return,  with  hopes  centred  rather  in  rich  finds  and 

The  principal  dry  diggings  were  situated  in  the 
country  since  comprised  in  Placer  and  El  Dorado 
counties,  particularly  about  the  spots  where  Auburn 
and  Placerville,  their  respective  capitals,  subsequently 
rose.  Smaller  camps,  generally  named  after  their 
discoverers,  were  thickly  scattered  throughout  the 
gold  region.  They  were  among  the  first  discovered 
after  the  rush  set  in  from  the  towns,  and  were  worked 
by  a  great  number  of  miners  during  June,  July,  and 
part  of  August.  After  this  they  were  deserted, 
partly  because  the  small  streams  resorted  to  for  wash 
ing  dried  up,  but  more  because  a  stampede  for  the 
southern  mines  began  at  that  time.7  A  few  prudent 
and  patient  diggers  remained,  to  collect  pay-dirt  in 
readiness  for  the  next  season;  and  according  to  all 
accounts  they  did  wisely. 

It  was  a  wide-spread  belief  among  the  miners,  few 
of  whom  had  any  knowledge  of  geology  or  mineral 
ogy,  that  the  gold  in  the  streams  and  gulches  had 
been  washed  down  from  some  place  where  it  lay  in 
solid  beds,  perhaps  in  mountains.  Upon  this  source 
their  dreams  and  hopes  centred,  regardless  of  the 
prospect  that  such  a  discovery  might  cause  the 
mineral  to  lose  its  value.  They  were  sure  that  the 
wonderful  region  would  be  found  some  day,  and 
the  only  fear  of  each  was  that  another  might  be 
the  lucky  discoverer.  Many  a  prospecting  party  set 
out  to  search  for  this  El  Dorado  of  El  Dorados;  and 
to  their  restless  wanderings  may  be  greatly  attributed 
the  extraordinarily  rapid  extension  of  the  gold-fields. 
No  matter  how  rich  a  new  placer,  these  henceforth 

1  Kelsey  and  party  discovered  the  first  dry  diggings,  which  were  named 
Kelsey's  diggings.  Next  were  the  old  dry  diggings,  out  of  which  so  many 
thousands  were  taken.  Among  the  discoverers  were  Isbel,  and  Daniel  and 
J-no.  Murphy,  who  were  connected  with  Capt.  Weber's  trading  establish 
ments,  Murray  and  Failon  of  San  Jose,  and  McKensey  and  Aram  of  Monterey. 
Carson's  Early  Recollections,  5.  See  also,  concerning  the  dry  diggings,  Oakland 
Transcript,  Apr.  13,  1873,  and  Oakland  Alameda  Co.  Gazette,  Apr.  19,  1873. 


fated  rovers  remained  there  not  a  moment  after  the 
news  came  of  richer  diggings  elsewhere.  In  their 
wake  rushed  others;  and  thus  it  often  happened  that 
men  abandoned  claims  yielding  from  $50  to  $200  a 
day,  and  hurried  off  to  fresh  fields  which  proved  far 
less  valuable  or  utterly  worthless.  Then  they  would 
return  to  their  old  claims,  but  only  to  find  them  fallen 
into  other  hands,  thus  being  compelled  by  inexorable 
necessity  to  continue  the  chase.  They  had  come  to 
gather  gold  now,  and  bushels  of  it,  not  next  year  or 
by  the  thimbleful.  At  $200  a  day  it  would  take 
ten  days  to  secure  $2,000,  a  hundred  days  to  get 
$20,000,  a  thousand  days  to  make  $200,000,  when  a 
million  was  wanted  within  a  month.  And  so  in  the 
midst  of  this  wild  pursuit  of  their  ignis  fatuus,  multi 
tudes  of  brave  and  foolish  men  fell  .by  the  way,  some 
dropping  into  imbecility  or  the  grave,  while  others, 
less  fortunate,  were  not  permitted  to  rest  till  old  age 
and  decrepitude  came  upon  them. 

Although  in  1848  the  average  yield  of  gold  for 
each  man  engaged  was  far  greater  than  in  any  sub 
sequent  year,  yet  the  implements  and  methods  of 
mining  then  in  use  were  primitive,  slow  of  operation, 
and  wasteful.  The  tools  were  the  knife,  the  pan, 
and  the  rocker,  or  cradle.  The  knife  was  only  used 
in  *  crevicing/  that  is,  in  picking  the  gold  out  of  cracks 
in  the  rocks,  or  occasionally  in  dry  diggings  rich  in 
coarse  gold.8  Yet  the  returns  were  large  because 

8  The  pan  was  made  of  stiff  tin  or  sheet-iron,  with  a  flat  bottom  from  10 
to  14  inches  across,  and  sides  from  4  to  6  inches  high,  rising  outward  at  a 
varying  angle.  It  was  used  mainly  for  prospecting,  and  as  an  adjunct  to  the 
rocker,  but  in  the  absence  of  the  latter,  claims  were  sometimes  systematically 
worked  with  it.  In  'panning,'  as  in  all  methods  of  placer-mining,  the  gold 
was  separated  from  earth  and  stones  chiefly  by  relying  on  the  superior  spe 
cific  gravity  of  the  metal.  The  pan  was  partly  filled  with  dirt,  lowered  into 
the  water,  and  there  shaken  with  a  sideway  and  rotary  motion,  which  caused 
the  dissolving  soil  and  clay,  and  the  light  sand,  to  float  away  until  nothing  was 
left  but  the  gold  which  had  settled  at  the  bottom.  Gravel  and  stones  were 
raked  out  with  the  hand.  Except  in  extremely  rich  ground,  such  a  process 
was  slow,  and  it  was  therefore  seldom  resorted  to,  save  for  *he  purpose  of  as 
certaining  whether  it  would  pay  to  bring  the  rocker  t^  ..a  spot.  The  cradle 
resembled  in  size  and  shape  a  child's  cradle,  with  similar  rockers,  and  was 
rocked  by  means  of  a  perpendicular  handle.  The  cradle- box  consisted  of  a 
wooden  trough,  about  20  in.  wide  and  40  long,  with  sides  4  in.  high.  The 

88  AT  THE  MINES, 

there  were  fewer  to  share  the  spoils,  and  because  they 
had  the  choice  of  the  most  easily  worked  placers;  and 
although  they  did  not  materially  diminish  the  quantity 
of  gold,  they  picked  up  much  of  what  was  in  sight. 

lower  end  was  left  open.     On  the  upper  end  sat  the  hopper,  or  riddle,  a  box  20 
in.  square,  with  wooden  sides  4  in.  high,  and  a  bottom  of  sheet  iron  or  zinc 
pierced  with  holes  £  in.  in  diameter.     Under  the  hopper  was  an  apron  of 
wood  or  canvas  which  sloped  down  from  the  lower  end  of  the  hopper  to  the 
upper  end  of  the  cradle-box.     Later  an  additional  apron  was  added  by  many, 
above  the  original  one,  sloping  from  the  upper  to  the  lower  end.     A  strip  of 
wood  an  inch  square,  called  a  riffle-bar,  was  nailed  across  the  bottom  of  the 
cradle-box,  about  its  middle,  and  another  at  its  lower  end.     Under  the  whole 
were  nailed  the  rockers,  and  near  the  middle  of   the  side  rose  an  upright 
handle  for  imparting  motion.     The  rocker  was  placed  in  the  spot  to  which 
the  pay-dirt,  and  especially  a  constant  supply  of  water,  could  most  conven 
iently  be  brought.     The  hopper  being  nearly  tilled  with  auriferous  earth,  the 
operator,  seated  by  its  side,  rocked  the  cradle  with  one  hand,  and  with  the 
other  poured  water  on  the  dirt,  using  a  half-gallon  dipper,  until  nothing  was 
left  in  the  hopper   but   clean  stones  too   large   to  pass   through    the  sieve. 
These  being  thrown  out,  the  operation  was  repeated.     The  dissolved  dirt  fell 
through  the  holes  upon  the  apron,  and  was  carried  to  the  upper  end  of  the 
cradle-box,  whence  it  ran  down  toward  the  open  end.     Much  of  the  finer 
gold  remained  upon  the  canvas-covered  apron;  the  rest,  with   the   heavier 
particles  of  gravel,  was  caught  behind  the  riffle-bars,  while  the  water,  thin 
mud,  and  lighter  substances  were  carried  out  of  the  machine.     This  descrip 
tion  of  the  rocker  I  have  taken  from  HittelVs  Mining  in  the  Pacific  States  of 
North  America,  S.  F.,  1861,  and  from  the  Miners'  Own  Book,  S.  F.,  1858. 
The  former  is  a  well  arranged  hand-book  of  mining,  and  exhausts  the  subject. 
The  latter  work   treats  only  of  the  various  methods  of  mining,  which  are 
lucidly'  described,  and  illustrated  by  many  excellent  cuts,  including  one  of 
the  rocker.     Earlier  miners  and  Indians  used  sieves  of  intertwisted  willows 
for  washing  dirt.     Sonorans  occasionally  availed  themselves  of  cloth   for  a 
sieve,  the  water  dissolving  the  dirt  and  leaving  the  gold  sticking  to  it.     Sev 
eral  times  during  the  day  the  miner  'cleaned  up'  by  taking  the  retained  dirt 
into  his  pan  and  panning  it  out.     The  quantity  of  dirt  that  could  be  washed 
with  a  rocker  depended  upon  the  nature  of  the  diggings  and  the  number  of 
men  employed.     If  the  diggings  were  shallow,  that  is  to  say,  if  the  gold  lay 
near  the  surface,  two  men — one  to  rock  and  one  to  fill  the  hopper — could 
wash  out  from  250  to  300  pans  in  a  day,  the  pan  representing  about  half 
a  cubic  foot  of  dirt.     But  if  several  feet  of  barren  dirt  had  to  be  stripped  off 
before  the  pay-dirt  was  reached,  more  time  and  men  were  required.     Again, 
if  tough  clay  was  encountered  in  the  pay-dirt,  it  took  an  hour  or  more  to 
dissolve  a  hopperful  of  it.     Dry-washing  consisted  in  tossing  the  dirt  into 
the  air  while  the  wind  was  blowing,  and  thus  gradually  winnowing  out  the 
gold.     This  method  was  mostly  confined  to  the  Mexicans,  and  could  be  used 
to  advantage  only  in  rich  diggings  devoid  of   water,  where   the  gold   was 
coarse.     The  Mexican  generally  obtained  his  pay-dirt  by  'coyoting;'   that 
is,  by  sinking  a  square  hole  to  the  bed-rock,  and  then  burrowing  from  the 
bottom  along  the  ledge.     For  burrowing  he  used  a  small  crowbar,  pointed  at 
both  ends,  and  with  a  big  horn  spoon  he  scraped  up  the  loosened  pay-dirt. 
This,    pounded  into  dust,  he  shook  with  great  dexterity  from  a  baiea,  or 
wooden  bowl,  upon  an  extended  hide,  repeating  the  process  until  the  wind 
had  left  little  of  the   original  mass  except  the  gold.     In  this  manner  the 
otherwise   indolent   Mexicans  often   made   small   fortunes   during   the   dry 
summer  months,  when  the  rest  of  the  miners  were  squandering  their  gains  iu 
the  towns. 


Moreover,  they  were  fettered  by  no  local  regulations, 
or  delays  in  obtaining  possession  of  claims,  but  could 
•hasten  from  placer  to  placer,  skimming  the  cream  from 
each.  In  February  Governor  Mason  had  abolished 
the  old  Mexican  system  of  'denouncing'  mines,9  with 
out  establishing  any  other  mining  regulations.10  In 
this  way  some  ten  millions  n  were  gathered  by  a  pop 
ulation  of  8,000  or  10,000,  averaging  an  ounce  a  day, 
or  $1,000  and  more  to  the  man  for  the  season,  and 
this  notwithstanding  the  miners  were  not  fairly  at 
work  until  July,  and  most  of  them  went  down  to  the 
coast  in  October.  Some,  however,  made  $100  a  day 
for  weeks  at  a  time,  while  $500  or  $700*  a  day  was  not 

•Mason's  order  to  this  effect  is  dated  at  Monterey,  Feb.  12,  1848.  'From 
and  after  this  date  the  Mexican  laws  and  customs  now  prevailing  in  Califor 
nia  relative  to  the  denouncement  of  mines  are  hereby  abolished.  The  legality 
of  the  denouncements  which  have  taken  place,  and  the  possession  obtained 
under  them  since  the  occupation  of  the  country  by  the  United  States  forces, 
are  questions  which  will  be  disposed  of  by  the  American  government  after  a 
definitive  treaty  of  peace  shall  have  been  established  between  the  two  repub 
lics.'  U.  S.  Oov.  Docs,  31st  cong.  1st  sess.,  H.  Ex.  Doc.  17,  477;  San  Diego 
Arch.,  MS.,  325;  San  Jost  Arch,,  MS.,  ii.  69;  Arch.  CaL,  Unbound  Docs,  MS., 
318;  8.  F.  Californian,  Feb.  23,  1848.  This  order  caused  dissatisfaction  in 
several  quarters,  chiefly  because  many,  after  expense  and  trouble  in  looking 
for  veins,  had  denounced  them  after  Feb.  12th,  but  before  the  decree  was 
known  to  them.  Mason  to  J.  S.  Moerenhout,  consul  of  France  at  Monterey, 
June  5,  1848,  in  U.  S.  Gov.  Docs,  as  above,  56;  Mason  to  alcalde  of  San  Jose", 
March  9,  1848,  in  S.  Jose  Arch.,  MS.,  42;  People  of  Monterey  to  Mason,  March 
9,  1848,  in  Arch.  CaL,  Unbound  Docs,  MS.,  408-11. 

10 The  desirability  of  regulations  is  spoken  of  by  Mason  in  a  letter  to  J.  R. 
Snyder  as  early  as  May  23,  1848,  as  the  latter  is  about  to  visit  the  gold  region; 
and  he  is  requested  to  obtain  information  and  submit  a  plan.  U.  S.  Oov.  Docs, 
ubi  sup.  554-6.  In  his  letter  to  the  U.  S.  adjt-gen.  of  Aug.  17,  1848,  Mason 
writes:  '  It  was  a  matter  of  serious  reflection  to  me  how  I  could  secure  to  the 
government  certain  rents  or  fees  for  the  privilege  of  obtaining  this  gold;  but 
upon  considering  the  large  extent  of  country,  the  character  of  the  people  en 
gaged,  and  the  small  scattered  force  at  my  command,  I  resolved  not  to  inter 
fere,  but  to  permit  all  to  work  freely,  unless  broils  and  crimes  should  call  for 
interference. ' 

11  This  is  the  figure  accepted  in  HittelVs  Mining,  39,  although  the  same 
author,  in  Hist.  S.  F.,  155,  writes:   'The  monthly  gold  yield  of  1848  averaged 
perhaps  $300,000.'     The  officially   recorded  export   for    1848   was   $2,000,- 
000,  but  this  forms  only  a  proportion  of  the  real  export.     Velasco,  Son.,  289- 
90,  for  instance,  gives  the  official  import  into  Sonora  alone  at  over  half  a 
million,  and  assumes  much  more  unrecorded.     See  also  Annals  S.  F.,  208. 
Quart.  Review,  Ixxxvii.  422,  wildly  calculates  the  yield  for  1848  at  $45,000,000. 

12  John  Sullivan,  an  Irish  teamster,  took  out  $26,000  from  the  diggings 
named  after  him  on  the  Stanislaus.     One  Hudson  obtained  some  $20,000  in 
six  weeks  from  a  canon  between  Colomaand  the  American  middle  fork;  while 
n  boy  named  Davenport  found  in  the  same  place  77  ounces  of  pure  gol  1  one 
day,  and  CO  ounces  the  next.     At  the  Dry  Diggings  one  Wilson  took  $2, COO 

90  AT  THE  MINES. 

In  a  country  where  trade  had  been  chiefly  conducted 
by  barter  with  hides  and  other  produce,  coin  was  nat- 

from  under  his  own  door-step.  Three  Frenchmen  discovered  gold  in  remov 
ing  a  stump  which  obstructed  the  road  from  Dry  Diggings  to  Coloma,  and 
within  a  week  secured  $5,000.  On  the  Yuba  middle  fork  one  man  picked  up 
in  20  days  nearly  30  pounds,  from  a  piece  of  ground  less  than  four  feet  square. 
Amador  relates  that  he  saw  diggings  which  yielded  $8  to  every  spadeful  of 
earth;  and  he  himself,  with  a  companion  and  20  native  laborers,  took  out 
from  7  to  9  pounds  of  gold  a  day.  Robert  Birnie,  an  employe  of  Consul 
Forbes,  saw  miners  at  Dry  Diggings  making  from  50  to  100  ounces  daily. 
Bu/um's  Six  Months,  126-9;  Cal.  Star,  Nov.  18,  Dec.  2,  1848;  Amador,  Me- 
morias,  MS.,  177-80;  Birnie's  Biog.,  in  Pioneer  Soc.  Arch.,  MS.,  93-4.  A 
correspondent  of  the  Californian  writes  from  the  Dry  Diggings  in  the  middle 
of  August  that  'at  the  lower  mines  the  success  of  the  day  is  counted  in  dollars, 
at  the  upper  mines,  near  the  mill,  in  ounces,  and  here  in  pounds! '  'The  earth,' 
he  continues,  'is  taken  out  of  the  ravines  which  make  out  of  the  mountain, 
and  is  carried  in  wagons  and  packed  on  horses  from  one  to  three  miles  to  the 
water,  where  it  is  washed;  $400  has  been  an  average  for  a  cart-load.  In  one 
instance  five  loads  of  earth  which  had  been  dug  out  sold  for  47  oz.  ($752),  and 
yielded  after  washing  $16,000.  Instances  have  occurred  here  where  men 
have  carried  the  earth  on  their  backs,  and  collected  from  $800  to  $1,500  in  a 
day.'  'The  fountain-head  yet  remains  undiscovered,'  continues  the  writer, 
who  is  of  opinion  that  when  proper  machinery  is  introduced  and  the  hills  are 
cut  down,  'huge  pieces  must  be  found.'  At  this  time  tidings  had  just  arrived 
of  new  placers  on  the  Stanislaus,  and  200  miners  were  accordingly  preparing 
to  leave  ground  worth  $400  a  load,  in  the  hope  of  finding  something  better  in 
the  south.  This  letter  is  dated  from  the  Dry  Diggings,  Aug.  15,  1848,  and 
is  signed  J.  B.  Similar  stories  are  told  by  other  correspondents;  for  instance, 
'Cosmopolite,'  in  the  Californian  of  July  15th,  and  'Sonoma,'  in  that  of  Aug. 
14th.  Coronel  states  that  on  the  Stanislaus  in  three  days  he  took  out  45,  38, 
and  59  ounces.  At  the  same  placer  Valde's  of  Santa  Barbara  found  under  a 
rock  more  gold-dust  than  he  could  carry  in  a  towel,  and  the  man  to  whom 
he  sold  this  claim  took  out  within  8  days  52  pounds  of  gold.  Close  by  a  So- 
noran  filled  a  large  batea  with  dust  from  the  hollow  of  a  rock,  and  went  about 
offering  it  for  silver  coin.  Cosas  de  Cal.,  MS.,  146-51. 

And  yet  the  middle  fork  of  the  American  surpassed  the  other  streams  in 
richness,  the  yield  of  Spanish  Bar  alone  being  placed  at  over  a  million  dollars. 
These  tributaries  also  boasted  of  nuggets  as  big  as  any  so  far  discovered. 
Larkin  writes:  'I  have  had  in  my  hands  several  pieces  of  gold  about  23  carats 
fine,  weighing  from  one  to  two  pounds,  and  have  it  from  good  authority  that 
pieces  have  been  found  weighing  16  pounds.  Indeed,  I  have  heard  of  one 
specimen  that  weighed  25  pounds.'  Colton  heard  of  a  twenty-pound  piece, 
and  a  writer  in  San  Joaquin  Co.  Hist.,  21,  relates  that  the  Stockton  company 
obtained  from  the  Stanislaus  a  lump  'of  pure  gold  weighing  80£  ounces  avoir 
dupois,'  of  kidney  shape,  which  was  brought  as  a  specimen.  Mason  reports 
that  'a  party  of  four  men  employed  at  the  lower  mines  averaged  $100  a  day.' 
On  Weber  Creek  he  found  two  ounces  to  be  a  fair  day's  yield.  'A  small  gut 
ter,  not  more  than  100  yards  long  by  four  feet  wide  and  two  or  three  feet 
deep,  was  pointed  out  to  me  as  the  one  where  two  men,  William  Daly  and 
Perry  McCoou,  had  a  short  time  before  obtained  $17,000  worth  of  gold.  Cap 
tain  Weber  informed  me  that  he  knew  that  these  two  men  had  employed  four 
white  men  and  about  100  Indian,?,  and  that  at  the  end  of  one* week's  work 
they  paid  off  their  party  and  had  $10,000  worth  of  this  gold.  Another  small 
ravine  was  shown  me,  from  which  had  been  taken  upwards  of  $12,000  worth 
of  gold.  Hundreds  of  similar  ravines,  to  all  appearances,  are  as  yet  un 
touched.  I  could  not  have  credited  these  reports  had  I  not  seen  in  the  abun 
dance  of  the  precious  metal  evidence  of  their  truth.  Mr  Neligh,  an  agent  of 
Com.  Stockton,  had  been  at  work  about  three  weeks  in  the  neighborhood,  and 


urally  scarce.  This  no  less  than  the  sudden  abundance 
of  gold  tended  to  depress  the  value  of  the  metal,  so  much 
so  that  the  miners  often  sold  their  dust  for  four  dol 
lars  an  ounce,  and  seldom  obtained  at  first  more  than 
eight  or  ten  dollars.13  The  Indians  were  foremost  in 

showed  me  in  bags  and  bottles  over  $2,000  worth  of  gold;  and  Mr  Lyman,  a 
gentleman  of  education  and  worthy  of  every  credit,  said  he  had  been  engaged 
with  four  others,  with  a  machine  on  the  American  fork,  just  below  Butter's 
mill;  that  they  worked  eight  days,  and  that  his  share  was  at  the  rate  of  $50 
a  day;  but  hearing  that  others  were  doing  better  at  Weber's  place,  they  had 
removed  there,  and  were  then  on  the  point  of  resuming  operations.  I  might 
tell  of  hundreds  of  similar  instances,'  he  concludes.  John  Sinclair,  at  the 
junction  of  the  north  and  middle  branches  of  the  American  River,  displayed 
14  pounds  of  gold  as  the  result  of  one  week's  work,  with  fifty  Indians  using 
closely  woven  willow  baskets.  He  had  secured  $16,000  in  five  weeks.  Lar- 
kin  writes  in  a  similar  strain  from  the  American  forks.  Referring  to  a  party 
of  eight  miners,  he  says:  'I  suppose  they  made  each  $50  per  day;  their  own 
calculation  was  two  pounds  of  gold  a  day,  four  ounces  to  a  man,  $64.  I  saw 
two  brothers  that  worked  together,  and  only  worked  by  washing  the  dirt  in 
a  tin  pan,  weigh  the  gold  they  obtained  in  one  day.  The  result  was  $7  to 
one  and  $82  to  the  other. '  Buffum  relates  his  own  experiences  on  the  middle 
branch  of  the  American.  Scratching  round  the  base  of  a  great  bowlder,  and 
removing  the  gravel  and  clay,  he  and  his  companions  came  to  black  sand, 
mingled  with  which  was  gold  strewn  all  over  the  surface  of  the  rock,  and  of 
which  four  of  them  gathered  that  day  26  ounces.  '  The  next  day,  our  machine 
being  ready,'  he  continues,  'we  looked  for  a  place  to  work  it,  and  soon  found 
a  little  beach  which  extended  back  some  five  or  six  yards  before  it  reached 
the  rocks.  The  upper  soil  was  a  light  black  sand,  on  the  surface  of  which  we 
could  see  the  particles  of  gold  shining,  and  could  in  fact  gather  them  up  with 
our  fingers.  In  digging  below  this  we  struck  a  red  stony  gravel  that  ap 
peared  perfectly  alive  with  gold,  shining  and  pure.  We  threw  off  the  top 
earth  and  commenced  our  washings  with  the  gravel,  which  proved  so  rich 
that,  excited  by.  curiosity,  we  weighed  the  gold  extracted  from  the  first  wash 
ing  of  50  panfuls  of  earth,  and  found  $75,  or  nearly  five  ounces  of  gold  to  be 
the  result.'  The  whole  day's  work  amounted  to  25  ounces.  A  little  lower  on 
the  river  he  struck  the  stony  bottom  of  'pocket,  which  appeared  to  be  of 
pure  gold,  but  upon  probing  it,  I  found  it  to  be  only  a  thin  covering  which 
by  its  own  weight  and  the  pressure  above  it  had  spread  and  attached  itself  to 
the  rock.  Crossing  the  river  I  continued  my  search,  and  after  digging  some 
time  struck  upon  a  hard,  reddish  clay  a  few  feet  from  the  surface.  After  two 
hours'  work  I  succeeded  in  finding  a  pocket  out  of  which  I  extracted  three 
lumps  of  pure  gold,  and  one  small  piece  mixed  with  oxydized  quartz' — 2D£ 
ounces  for  the  day;  not  much  short  of  $500.  There  are  a  class  of  stories,  sucu 
as  those  related  by  H.  L.  Simpson  and  the  Rev.  Colton,  of  a  wilder  and  more 
romantic  nature,  apparently  as  easy  to  tell  as  those  by  writers  of  proved 
veracity,  and  which,  whether  true  or  false,  I  will  not  trouble  my  readers  with. 
For  additional  information  on  yield,  see  more  particularly  Larkin's  letters  to 
the  U  S.  secty  of  state,  dated  S.  F.,  June  1,  Monterey,  June  28,  July  1,  July 
20,  and  Nov.  16,  1848,  in  Larkin's  Official  Corresp.,  MS.,  131-41;  Mason  to 
to  the  adjt-gen.,  Aug.  17,  1848:  U.  S.  Oov.  Docs,  31st  cong.  1st  sess.,  H.  Ex. 
Doc.  17,  528-36;  Sherman's  Memoirs,  i.  46-54;  Soulfs  Annals  of  S.  F.,  210; 
Carson's  Early  Recollections,  passim;  Hittell's  Mining,  21;  McChristian,  in 
Pioneer  Sketches,  9;  Burnett's  Recollections,  i.  374-5;  and  a  number  of  miscel 
laneous  documents  in  Footer's  Gold  Regions.  Also  Simpson's  Three  Weeks  in  the 
Gol  I  Mint's;  Cotton's  Three  Years  in  Cal. 

13  Jones  writes  in  Nov.  1848  that  miners  often  sold  an  ounce  of  gold  for  a  sil 
ver  dollar.     It  had   been  bought  of   Indians  for  50  cents.   Revert  8  Tour  of 

92  AT  THE  MINES. 

lowering  the  price,  at  least  in  the  early  part  of  the 
season.  They  had  no  idea  of  the  value  of  gold,  and 
would  freely  exchange  it  for  almost  anything  that 
caught  their  fancy.  Although  honest  enough  in 
dealings  among  themselves,  the  miners  did  not  scruple 
to  cheat  the  natives,1*  the  latter  meanwhile  thinking 
they  had  outwitted  the  white  man.  Presently,  how 
ever,  with  growing  experience,  they  began  to  insist 
upon  a  scale  of  fixed  prices,  whereupon  the  trader 
quoted  prices  of  cotton  cloth  or  calico  at  twenty 
dollars  a  yard,  plain  white  blankets  at  six  ounces, 
sarapes  from  twenty  to  thirty  ounces  each,  beads 
equal  weight  in  gold,  handkerchiefs  and  sashes  two 
ounces  each.  Care  was  moreover  taken  to  arrange 
scales  and  weights  especially  for  trade  with  the  sav 
ages.  To  balance  with  gold  the  great  slugs  of  lead, 
which  represented  a  'digger  ounce,'  the  savages  re 
garded  as  fair  dealing,  and  would  pile  on  the  precious 
dust  until  the  scales  exactly  balanced,  using  every 
precaution  to  give  no  more  than  the  precise  weight. 
The  scales  usually  employed,  often  improvised,  were 
far  from  reliable;  but  a  handful  of  gold-dust  more  or 
less  in  those  days  was  a  matter  of  no  great  moment.15 
The  inflowing  miners  arrived  as  a  rule  well  sup 
plied  with  provisions  and  other  requirements,  but  they 
had  not  counted  fully  on  wear  and  tear,  length  of  stay, 
and  accidents.  As  a  consequence,  they  nearly  all  came 
to  want  at  the  same  time  toward  the  close  of  the  sea- 

Duty,  254.  Carson  says  that  gold  was  worth  but  $6  per  ounce  in  the  mines. 
Early  Recollections,  14.  Buffum  says  from  $6  to  $8.  Six  Month*,  96;  Dally 
that  it  could  not  be  sold  for  more  than  $8  or  $9.  Narrative,  MS.,  53;  Swan 
says  $4  to  $8.  Trip  to  the  Gold  Mines  Birnie  bought  a  quantity  of  dust  at 
$4  per  oz.  in  Mexican  coin.  Biog.  in  Pioneer  Soc.  Arch.,  MS.,  93-4. 

14  We  hear  of  ragged  blankets  and  the  like  selling  for  their  weight,  2  Ibs, 
3  oz.  of  dust  being  given  for  one.  Buffuni's  Six  Month*.  93-4,  126-9;  Coronel, 
Cosasde  Cal.,  MS.,  142-3;  Fernandez,  Cosas  de  Cat.,  MS.,  175,  178;  Tulare 
Times,  Sept.  19,  1874. 

u  Carson's  Early  Recollections,  35-6.  Green  relates  that  on  the  Tulare 
plains  he  sold  his  cart  and  pair  of  oxen  to  a  Frenchman  for  $600.  The  gold  was 
weighed  by  the  Frenchman  with  improvised  scales.  Green  fancied  the  French-" 
man  was  getting  the  better  of  him,  but  said  nothing.  On  reaching  Slitter's 
Fort  he  weighed  the  gold  again  and  found  it  worth  $2,000.  Life  and  Adven 
tures,  MS.,  17.  A  somewhat  fanciful  story. 


son,  and  the  supply  and  means  of  transportation  being 
unequal  to  the  demand,  prices  rose  accordingly.16  It 
did  not  take  men  long  to  adapt  themselves  to  the  new 
measurements  of  money ;  nor  could  it  be  called  extra  v- 
agance  when  a  man  would  pay  $300  for  a  horse  worth 
$6  a  month  before,  ride  it  to  the  next  camp,  turn  it 
loose  and  buy  another  when  he  wanted  one,  provided 
he  could  scrape  from  the  ground  the  cost  of  an  animal 
more  easily  than  he  could  take  care  of  one  for  a 
week  or  two.  Extravagance  is  spending  much  when 
one  has  little.  Gold  was  too  plentiful,  too  easily 
obtained,  to  allow  a  little  of  it  to  stand  in  the  way  of 
what  one  wanted.  It  was  cheap.  Perhaps  there 
were  mounains  of  it  near  by,  in  which  case  six  barrels 
of  it  might  be  easily  given  for  one  barrel  of  meal. 

And  thus  it  was  that  all  along  this  five  hundred  miles 
of  foothills,  daily  and  hourly  through  this  and  the 
following  years,  went  up  the  wild  cry  of  exultation 
mingled  with  groans  of  despair.  For  even  now  the 
unfortunate  largely  outnumbered  the  successful.  It 
may  seem  strange  that  so  many  at  such  a  time,  and 
at  this  occupation  above  all  others,  should  consent  to 
work  for  wages;  but  though  little  capital  save  a  stock 
of  bread  was  required  to  work  in  the  mines,  some  had 
lost  all,  and  had  not  even  that.  Then  the  excitement 
and  pressure  of  eager  hope  and  restless  labor  told  upon 
the  constitution  no  less  than  the  hard  and  unaccus 
tomed  task  under  a  broiling  sun  in  moist  ground,  per 
haps  knee-deep  in  water,  and  with  poor  shelter  during 
the  night,  sleeping  often  on  the  bare  ground.  The 
result  was  wide-spread  sickness,  notably  fevers  and 

16  Sales  are  reported,  for  example,  flour  $800  a  bbl;  sugar,  coffee,  and 
pork,  $400;  a  pick,  shovel,  tin  pan,  pair  of  boots,  blanket,  a  gallon  of  whis 
key,  and  500  other  things,  $100  each.  Eggs  were  $3  each;  drugs  were  $1  a 
drop;  pills,  $1  each;  doctor's  visit,  $100,  or  $50,  or  nothing;  cook's  wages, 
$25  a  day;  hire  of  wagon  and  team,  $50  a  day;  hire  of  rocker,  $150  a  day.  If 
there  happened  to  be  an  overstock  in  one  place,  which  was  not  often  the  case 
during  this  year,  prices  were  low  accordingly.  Any  price,  almost,  would  be 
paid  for  an  article  that  was  wanted,  and  nothing  for  what  was  not  wanted. 
A  Coloma  store-keeper's  bill  in  Dec.  1848  runs  thus:  1  box  sardines,  $16;  1  Ib. 
hard  bread,  $2;  1  Ib.  butter,  $6;  £  Ib.  cheese,  $3;  2  bottles  ale,  $16;  total,  $43; 
and  this  for  not  a  very  elaborate  luncheon  for  two  persons. 

94  AT  THE  MINES. 

dysentery,  and  also  scurvy,  owing  to  the  lack  of 

The  different  exploitations  resulted  in  the  establish 
ment  of  several  permanent  camps,  marked  during 
this  year  by  rude  shanties,  or  at  best  by  Jog  huts, 
for  stores,  hotels,  and  drinking-saloons.  Some  of  them 
surpassed  in  size  and  population  Sutter's  hitherto  sol 
itary  fortress,  yet  this  post  maintained  its  preemi 
nence  as  an  entrep6t  for  trade  and  point  of  distribution, 
at  least  for  the  northern  and  central  mining*  fields, 

*  O 

and  a  number  of  houses  were  rising  to  increase  its  im 
portance.  On  the  river  were  several  craft  beating 
up  with  passengers  and  goods,  or  unlading  at  the 
landing.  The  ferry,  now  sporting  a  respectable 
barge,  was  in  constant  operation,  arid  along  the  roads 
were  rolling  freight  trains  under  the  lash  and  oaths  of 
frantic  teamsters,  stirring  thick  clouds  of  incandescent 
dust  into  the  hot  air.  Parties  of  horsemen,  with 
heavy  packs  on  their  saddles,  moved  along  slowly 
enough,  yet  faster  than  the  tented  ox-carts  or  mule- 
wagons  with  their  similar  burdens.  A  still  larger 
proportion  was  foot-sore  wanderers  trudging  along 
under  their  roll  of  blankets,  which  enclosed  a  few 
supplies  of  flour,  bacon,  and  coffee,  a  little  tobacco 
and  whiskey,  perhaps  some  ammunition,  and,  sus 
pended  to  the  straps,  a  frying-pan  of  manifold  utility, 
the  indispensable  pick  and  shovel,  tin  pan  and  cup, 
occasionally  a  gun,  and  at  the  belt  a  pair  of  pistols 
and  a  dirk.  Up  the  steep  hills  and  over  the  parched 
plains,  toiling  on  beneath  a  broiling  sun,  such  a  load 
became  a  heavy  burden  ere  nightfall. 

Within  the  fort  all  was  bustle  with  the  throno*  of 


coming  and  going  traffickers  and  miners,  mostly  rough, 
stalwart,  bronze-faced  men  in  red  and  blue  woollen 
shirts,  some  in  deerskin  suits,  or  in  oiled-skin  and 
fishermen's  boots,  some  in  sombrero,  Mexican  sash,  and 
spurs,  loaded  with  purchases  or  bearing  enticingly 

17  Buffum  was  attacked,  but  found  a  remedy  in  some  bean-sprouts  which 
had  sprung  up  from  an  accidental  spill. 


plethoric  pouches  in  striking  contrast  to  their  fre 
quently  ragged,  unkempt,  and  woe-begone  appear 
ance.  Hardly  less  numerous,  though  less  conspicuous, 
were  the  happy  aboriginals,  arrayed  in  civilization's 
cotton  shirts,  some  with  duck  trousers,  squatting 
in  groups  and  eagerly  discussing  the  yellow  hand 
kerchiefs,  red  blankets,  and  bad  muskets  just  secured 
by  a  little  of  this  so  lately  worthless  stuff  which  had 
been  lying  in  their  streams  with  the  other  dirt  these 
past  thousand  years. 

Every  storehouse  and  shed  was  crammed  with  mer 
chandise;  provisions,  hardware  and  dry  goods,  whis 
key  and  tobacco,  and  a  hundred  other  things  heaped 
in  indiscriminate  confusion.  The  dwelling  of  the 
hospitable  proprietor,  who  had  a  word  for  everybody, 
and  was  held  in  the  highest  respect,  was  crowded 
with  visitors,  and  presented  the  appearance  of  a  hotel 
rather  than  private  quarters.  The  guard-house,  now 
deserted  by  its  Indian  soldiers,  and  most  of  the  build 
ings  had  been  rented  to  traders  and  hotel-keepers,18 
who  drove  a  rushing  business,  the  sales  of  one  store 
from  May  1st  to  July  10th  reaching  more  than  $30,- 
000. 19  The  workshops  were  busy  as  ever,  for  the 
places  of  deserting  artisans  could  be  instantly  filled 
from  passers-by  in  temporary  need. 

In  October  the  heavy  rains  and  growing  cold  ren 
dered  mining  difficult,  and  in  many  directions  impos 
sible.  The  steady  tide  of  migration  now  turned 
toward  the  coast.  Yet  a  large  number  remained, 
800  wintering  at  the  Dry  Diggings  alone,  and  a  large 
number  on  the  Yuba,  working  most  of  the  time,  for 
the  mines  were  yielding  five  ounces  a  day.  Efforts 
proved  remunerative  also  in  many  other  places.20 

18 A  two-story  house  at  $500  a  month;  rooms  for  $100. 

19 Sterling's  company  wrote  Larkin  not  to  delay  in  forwarding  stock,  for 
from  50  to  500  per  cent  could  be  made  on  everything.  There  were  no  fixed 

20 Hayes'  Cat.  Mininrj,  i.  50;  Burne.tC*  Rec.,  MS.,  369-70;  Bujf urn's  Six 
Month*,  52;  Cal.  Star,  bee.  12,  1848;  Yuba  Co.  Hist.,  37;  HaWs  Hist.  S. 
Jose,  172-3. 

96  AT  THE  MINES. 

The  more  prudent  devoted  a  little  time  to  erecting  log 
cabins,  and  otherwise  making  themselves  comfortable ; 
but  many  who  could  not  resist  the  fascinations  of 
gold-hunting,  and  attempted,  in  ill-provided  and  cloth 
and  brushwood  shanties,  to  brave  the  inclemency  of 
winter,  suffered  severely.  From  the  beginning  of 
October  till  the  end  of  the  rainy  season  men,  disap 
pointed  and  sick,  kept  coining  down  to  San  Francisco, 
cursing  the  country  and  their  hard  fate.21  Indeed, 
there  were  not  many  among  the  returning  crowd,  rich 
or  poor,  who  could  present  a  respectable  appearance. 
They  were  a  ragged,  sun-burned  lot,  grimy  and  be- 
spotted,  with  unshorn  beards  and  long,  tangled  hair; 
some  shoeless,  with  their  feet  blistered  and  bandaged. 
Many  were  now  content  to  return  home  and  enjoy 
their  good  fortune,  but  many  more  remained  to  squan 
der  their  earnings  during  the  winter,  to  begin  the 
spring  where  they  began  the  last  one;  yet  as  a  body, 
the  men  of  1848  profited  more  by  their  gains  than 
the  men  who  came  after  them.22 

21  There  was  greater  mortality  at  the  end  of  1848  than  ever  before,  says 
Grims/iaw,  Narr.,  MS.,  15. 

a2  Among  the  noted  visitors  at  the  mines,  upon  whose  testimony  the  last 
chapters  are  to  a  great  extent  based,  I  would  first  mention  J.  H.  Carson,  the 
discoverer  of  Carson  Creek,  as  he  subscribed  himself  in  the  title-page  of  his 
book,  Early  Recollections  of  the  Minr*,  and  a  Description  of  the  Great  Tulare 
Vidley,  a  small  octavo  of  64  pp.,  printed  at  Stockton  in  1852,  to  accompany 
the  steamer  edition  of  the  San  Joaquin  Republican.  It  is  significant,  cer 
tainly,  of  newspaper  enterprise,  when  a  country  journal  could  print  so  im 
portant  and  expensive  an  accompaniment  to  its  regular  issue.  It  ranks  also 
as  the  first  book  issued  at  Stockton.  Note  also  the  dedication:  'To  the 
Hon.  A.  Randall,  of  Monterey,  Cal.,  Professor  of  Geology  and  Botany,  who 
has  spared  neither  energy  nor  expense  in  the  Historical  Researches  of  Cal 
ifornia,  this  humble  work  is  most  respectfully  dedicated  by  his  obliged  and 
obedient  servant,  The  Author. '  Let  not  his  name  perish.  Mr  Carson  has  made 
a  very  good  book,  an  exceedingly  valuable  book.  He  sees  well,  thinks  well, 
and  writes  well,  though  with  some  coloring.  Already  in  1852  he  begins  to  talk 
with  affection  'of  the  good  old  times,  now  past,  when  each  day  was  big  with 
the  wonders  and  discoveries  of  rich  diggings.'  The  first  16  pages  are  devoted 
to  a  description  of  the  mines;  then  follow  some  very  good  anecdotes  and 
sketches;  the  whole  concluding  with  a  description  of  the  Tulare  Valley. 
Carson,  a  sergeant  in  the  N.  Y.  reg.,  was  residing  at  Monterey  in  the  spring 
of  1848,  when  he  was  seized  with  this  new  western  dance  of  St  Vitus,  and  was 
carried  on  an  old  mule  to  the  gold-diggings.  He  began  work  at  Mormon 
Island  by  annihilating  earth  in  his  wash-basin,  standing  up  to  his  knees  in 
water,  slashing  and  splashing  as  if  resolving  the  universe  to  its  original 
elements.  Fifty  pans  of  dirt  thus  pulverized  gave  the  fevered  pilgrim  but 
fifty  cents;  whereupon  a  deep  disgust  filled  his  soul,  and  immediately  with 


Obviously  the  effect  for  good  and  evil  of  finding 
gold  was  first  felt  by  those  nearest  the  point  of  dis- 

the  departure  of  his  malady  the  man  departed.  On  passing  through  Weber's 
Indian  trading  camp,  however,  he  saw  such  heaps  of  glittering  gold  as  brought 
the  ague  on  again  more  violent  than  ever,  resulting  in  a  prolonged  stay  at 
Kelsey's  and  Hangtown.  Instead  of  fortune,  however,  came  sickness,  which 
drove  him  away  to  other  pursuits,  and  brought  him  to  the  grave  at  Stockton 
in  April  1853,  shortly  after  his  election  to  the  legislature.  His  widow  and 
daughter  arrived  from  the  east  a  month  later,  and  being  destitute,  were 
assisted  to  return  by  a  generous  subscription. 

Another  member  of  the  same  regiment,  Henry  I.  Simpson,  who  started 
the  18th  of  Aug.,  1848,  from  Monterey  to  the  mines,  wrote  a  book  chiefly 
remarkable  from  its  publication  in  New  York,  in  1848,  describing  a  trip  to  the 
mines  which  could  not  have  been  concluded  much  more  than  three  months 
before  that  time.  It  was  not  impossible,  though  it  was  quick  work,  if  true, 
and  we  will  not  place  Mr  Simpson,  or  his  publishers,  Joyce  &  Company, 
under  suspicion  unless  we  find  them  clearly  guilty.  The  title  is  a  long  one 
for  so  thin  a  book,  a  pamphlet  of  thirty  octavo  pages,  and  somewhat  preten 
tious,  as  the  result  of  only  three  weeks'  observation;  but  Mr  Simpson  is  not 
the  only  one  who  has  attempted  to  enlighten  the  world  respecting  this  region 
after  a  ten  or  twenty  days'  ride  through  it.  and  to  tell  more  of  the  country 
than  the  inhabitants  had  ever  known,  thinking  that  because  things  were  new 
to  themselves  they  were  new  to  everybody.  Such  personages  are  your  Todds 
and  Riehardsons,  your  Grace  Greenwoods,  Pfeifers,  Mary  Cones,  and  fifty 
others  who  cover  their  ignorance  by  brilliant  flashes  that  gleam  before  the 
simple  as  superior  knowledge.  Nevertheless,  I  will  be  charitable,  and  print 
this  title,  which,  indeed,  gives  more  information  than  any  other  part  of  the 
book.  It  reads:  The  Emigrant's  Guide  to  the  Gold  Mines.  Three  Weeks  in 
the  Gold  Mines,  or  Adventures  with  the  Gold-Diggers  of  California,  in  August, 
1848,  together  with  Advice  to  Emigrants,  with  full  Instructions  upon  the  bext 
Methods  of  Getting  There,  Living,  Expenses,  etc.,  etc.,  and  a  Complete 
Description  of  the  Country.  With  a  Map  and  Illustrations.  And  such  a 
map,  and  such  illustrations!  I  should  say  that  the  draughtsman  had  taken 
the  chart  of  Cortes,  or  Vizcaino,  thrown  in  some  modern  names,  and  daubed 
yellow  a  strip  north  of  San  Francisco  Bay  to  represent  the  gold-fields.  In 
deed,  there  is  very  little  of  California  about  this  map.  The  price  of  the 
book  with  the  map  was  25  cents;  without  the  map,  12£  cents.  It  is  to  be 
hoped  that  purchasers  took  it  in  the  latter  form,  for  the  less  they  had  of  it 
the  wiser  they  would  be.  As  for  illustrations,  there  are  just  four,  whose  only 
merit  is  their  badness.  Fourteen  pages  of  the  work  are  devoted  to  the  nar 
rative  of  a  trip  to  the  mines;  nine  pages  to  a  description  of  the  country  and 
its  inhabitants;  the  remainder  being  occupied  by  advice  to  emigrants  con 
cerning  outfit  and  ways  to  reach  the  country.  Mr  Simpson's  ideas  are 
rambling  and  inflated,  and  his  pictures  of  the  country  more  gaudy  than 
gorgeous.  He  certainly  tells  large  stories — Bigler  says  wrong  stories — of 
river-beds  paved  with  gold  to  the  thickness  of  a  hand,  of  $20,000  or  $50,000 
worth  picked  out  almost  in  a  moment,  and  so  forth ;  but  he  printed  a  book  on 
California  gold  in  the  year  of  its  discovery,  and  this  atones  for  many  defects. 
Had  all  done  as  well  as  this  soldier-adventurer,  we  should  not  lack  material 
for  the  history  of  California. 

J.  Tyrwhitt  Brooks,  an  Englisn  physician  lately  from  Oregon,  started  in 
May  1848  from  S.  F.  for  the  gold-field,  with  a  well-equipped  party  of  five. 
After  a  fairly  successful  digging  at  Mormon  Island  they  moved  to  Weber 
Creek,  and  thence  to  Bear  River,  where,  despite  Indian  hostility,  115  pounds 
of  gold  were  obtained,  the  greater  part  of  which,  however,  was  destined  to  fall 
into  the  hands  of  highwaymen.  The  scenes  and  experiences  of  the  trip  Brooks 
recorded  in  a  diary,  which,  forwarded  to  his  brother  in  London,  was  there  pub 
lished  under  title  of  Four  Months  among  the  Gold-Finders  in  Alto,  California. 
HIST.  CAL.,  VOL.  VI.  7 

98  AT  THE  MINES. 

covery.  Upon  the  discoverer  himself,  in  whose  mind 
so  suddenly  arose  visions  of  wealth  and  influence,  it 

two  editions  appearing  in  London  in  1849,  and  one  in  America,  followed  by  a 
translation  at  Paris.  A  map  accompanies  the  English  edition,  with  a  yellow 
and  dotted  line  round  the  gold  district  then  extending  from  'R.  d  L.  Muke- 
lemnes'  to  Bear  River.  The  book  is  well  written,  and  the  author's  observa 
tions  are  such  as  command  respect. 

After  many  sermons  preached  against  money  as  the  root  of  all  evil,  and 
after  lamenting  fervently  the  present  dispensation  for  depriving  him  of  his 
servant,  temptation  also  seized  upon  the  Rev.  Walter  Colton,  at  the  time 
acting  alcalde  at  Monterey,  and  formerly  chaplain  on  board  the  U.  S.  ship 
Congress.  With  ive  companions,  including  Lt  Simmons,  Wilkinson,  son  of  a 
former  U.  S.  minister  to  Russia,  and  Marcy,  son  of  him  who  was  once  sec.  of 
war,  he  started  for  the  diggings  in  Sept.  1848,  freighting  a  wagon  with  cooking 
utensils,  mining  tools,  and  articles  for  Indian  traffic.  He  passed  through 
the  Livermore  gap  to  the  Stanislaus,  meeting  on  the  way  a  ragged  but  richly 
laden  party,  whose  display  of  wealth  gave  activity  to  his  movements.  Two 
months  saw  him  back  again,  rich  in  experience  if  not  in  gold,  and  primed  with 
additional  material  for  his  Three  Yearn  in  California,  a  book  published  in 
New  York  in  1850,  and  covering  the  prominent  incidents  coming  under  his 
observation  during  the  important  days  between  the  summer  of  1846  and  the 
Slimmer  of  1849.  Cal.  life  in  mines  and  settlements,  and  among  the  Spanish 
race,  receives  special  attention,  in  a  manner  well  calculated  to  bring  out  quaint 
and  characteristic  features.  Appearing  as  it  did  while  the  gold  fever  was  still 
raging,  the  work  received  much  attention,  and  passed  quickly  through  several 
editions,  later  under  the  changed  title,  Land  of  Gold.  It  also  assisted  into 
notice  his  Deck  and  Fort,  a  diary  like  the  preceding,  issued  the  same  year,  and 
reaching  the  third  edition,  which  treats  of  scenes  and  incidents  during  the 
voyage  to  Cal.  in  1845,  and  constitutes  a  prelude  to  the  other  book.  While 
the  popularity  of  both  rests  mainly  upon  the  time  and  topic,  yet  it  owes  much 
to  the  style,  for  Colton  is  a  genial  writer,  jocose,  with  an  easy,  careless  flow 
of  language,  but  inclines  to  the  exuberant,  and  is  less  exact  in  the  use  of 
words  than  we  should  expect  from  a  professed  dealer  in  unadulterated  truth, 
natural  and  supernatural. 

Six  Months  in  the  Gold  Mines;  being  a  Journal  of  Three  Years'  Residence 
in  Upper  and  Lower  California,  1847-9,  is  a  small  octavo  of  172  pages  by  E. 
Gould  Buffum,  sometime  lieut  in  the  first  reg.,  N.  Y.  Volunteers,  and  before 
that  connected  with  the  N.  Y.  press.  It  was  published  while  the  author  re 
mained  in  Cal.,  and  constitutes  one  of  the  most  important  printed  contribu 
tions  to  the  history  of  Cal.,  no  less  by  reason  of  the  scarcity  of  material 
concerning  the  period  it  covers,  1848-9,  than  on  account  of  the  ability  of  the 
author.  For  he  was  an  educated  man,  remarkably  free  from  prejudice,  a  close 
observer,  and  possessing  sound  judgment.  He  is  careful  in  his  statements, 
conscientious,  not  given  to  exaggeration,  and  his  words  and  ways  are  such  as 
inspire  confidence.  The  publishers'  notice  is  dated  May  1850.  The  author's 
introduction  is  dated  at  S.  F.  Jan.  I,  1850.  Hence  his  book  cannot  treat  of 
events  happening  later  than  1849.  First  is  given  his  visit  to  the  mines,  nota 
bly  on  the  Bear,  Yuba,  and  American  rivers,  with  the  attendant  experiences 
and  observations.  Then  follow  a  description  of  the  gold  region,  the  possibil 
ities  of  the  country  in  his  opinion,  movements  toward  government,  descrip 
tions  of  old  and  new  towns,  and  a  dissertation  on  Lower  Cal.  The  style  is 
pleasant — simple,  terse,  strong,  yet  graceful,  and  with  no  egoism  or  affecta 

.No  less  valuable  than  the  preceding  for  the  present  subject  are  a  number 
of  manuscript  journals  and  memoirs  by  pioneers,  recording  their  personal  ex 
periences  of  matters  connected  with  the  mines,  trade,  and  other  features  of 
early  Cal.  periods.  Most  of  them  are  referred  t)  elsewhere,  and  I  need  here 
ouly  instance  two  or  three.  A.  F.  Coronel,  subsequently  mayor  of  Los  An- 


fell  like  the  gold  of  Nibelungen,  in  the  Edda,  which 
brought  nothing  but  ill  luck  to  the  possessor.  And 
to  Sutter,  his  partner,  being  a  greater  man,  it  proved 
a  greater  curse.  Yet  this  result  was  almost  wholly 
the  fault  of  the  man,  not  of  the  event.  What  might 
have  been  is  not  my  province  to  discuss;  what  was 
and  is  alone  remain  for  me  to  relate.  We  all  think 
that  of  the  opportunity  given  these  men  we  should 
have  made  better  use;  doubtless  it  is  true.  They 
were  simple  backwoods  people;  we  have  knocked  our 
heads  against  each  other  until  they  have  become  hard; 
our  tongues  are  sharpened  by  lying,  and  our  brains 
made  subtle  by  much  cheating.  Sutter  and  Marshall, 
though  naturally  no  more  honest  than  other  men, 
were  less  astute  and  calculating ;  and  while  the  former 

O  * 

had  often  met  trick  with  trick,  it  was  against  less 
skilled  players  than  those  now  entering  the  game.  In 
their  intercourse  with  the  outside  world,  although 

geles,  and  a  prominent  Califorman,  made  a  trip  to  the  Stanislaus  and  found 
rich  deposits,  as  related  in  his  Corns  de  Cat.,  a  volume  of  265  pp. ,  which  forms 
one  of  the  best  narratives,  especially  of  happenings  before  the  conquest.  One 
of  his  fellow-miners  in  1848  was  Agustin  Janssens,  a  Frenchman,  who  came 
to  Cal.  in  1834  as  one  of  the  colonists  of  that  year.  He  left  his  rancho  at 
Santa  Inds  in  Sept.  1848,  with  several  Indian  servants,  and  remained  at  the 
Stanislaus  till  late  in  Dec.  In  his  Vida  y  Aventuras  en  California  de  Don 
Ayitxtin  Janssens  vecino  de  Santa  Barbara,  Dictadas  por  el  mismo  d  Thomas 
fiuvatje,  MS.,  1878,  he  shows  the  beginning  of  the  race  aggressions  from  which 
the  Latins  were  subsequently  to  suffer  severely.  Besides  several  hundred  of 
such  dictations  in  separate  and  voluminous  form,  I  have  minor  accounts  in 
letter  and  reports,  bound  with  historic  collections,  such  as  Larkin,  Docs,  MS., 
i.-ix. ;  Doc.  Hist.  Cal.,  MS.,  i.-iv. ;  Vallejo,  Docs,  MS.,  i.-xxxvi.  passim. 
Instance  the  observations  of  Charles  B.  Sterling  and  James  Williams,  both  in 
the  service  of  Larkin,  and  who  mined  and  traded  on  the  south  and  north 
branches  of  the  American,  with  some  success.  The  official  report  of  Thomas 
O.  Larkin  to  the  sec.  of  state  of  June  28,  1848,  was  based  on  a  personal  visit 
to  the  central  mining  region  early  in  that  month.  So  was  that  of  Col  R.  B. 
Mason,  who  left  Monterey  June  17th,  attended  by  W.  T,  Sherman  and  Quar 
termaster  Folsom,  escorted  by  four  soldiers.  By  way  of  Sonoma  they  reached 
Slitter's  Fort,  where  the  4th  of  July  was  duly  celebrated,  and  thence  moved 
up  the  south  branch  of  the  American  River  to  Weber  Creek.  Mason  was 
summoned  back  to  Monterey  from  this  point,  but  had  seen  enough  to  enable 
him  to  write  the  famous  report  of  Aug.  17th  to  the  adj. -gen.  at  Washington, 
which  started  the  gold  fever  ubroad.  A  later  visit  during  the  autumn  ex 
tended  to  the  Stanislaus  and  Sonora  diggings.  Folsorn  also  made  a  report, 
but  gave  little  new  information.  He  attempted  to  furnish  the  world,  through 
Gen.  Jesup,  with  a  history  and  description  of  the  country,  in  which  effort  he 
attained  no  signal  success.  He  did  not  like  the  climate;  he  did  not  like  the 
mines.  Yet  he  was  gracious  enough  to  say,  '  I  went  to  them  in  the  most 
sceptical  frame  of  mind,  and  came  away  a  believer.' 

100  AT  THE  MINES. 

they  were  adventurers,  they  proved  themselves  little 
better  than  children,  and  as  such  they  were  grossly 
misused  by  the  gold-thirsting  rabble  brought  down 
upon  them  by  their  discovery. 

Marshall  and  Sutter  kept  the  Mormons  at  work  on 
the  saw-mill  as  best  they  were  able,  until  it  was  com 
pleted  and  in  operation,  which  was  on  the  llth  of 
March.  The  Mormons  merited  and  received  the  ac 
knowledgments  of  their  employers  for  faithfulness  in 
holding  to  their  agreements  midst  constantly  increas 
ing  temptations.  Both  employers  engaged  also  in 
mining,  especially  near  the  mill,  claiming  a  right,  to 
the  ground  about  it,  which  claim  at  first  was  gener 
ally  respected.  With  the  aid  of  their  Indians  they 
took  out  a  quantity  of  gold;  but  this  was  quickly  lost; 
and  more  was  found  and  lost.  Sutter  mined  else 
where  with  Indians  arid  Kanakas,  and  claims  never  to 
have  derived  any  profit  from  these  efforts.  The  mill 
could  not  be  made  to  pay.  Several  issues  before  long 
arose  between  Marshall  and  the  miners  regarding 
their  respective  rights  and  the  treatment  of  the 

Marshall  was  less  fortunate  than  almost  any  of  the 
miners.  This  ill  success,  combined  with  an  exagger 
ated  estimate  of  his  merits  as  discoverer,  left  its 
impress  on  his  mind,  subjecting  it  more  and  more  to 
his  spiritualistic  doctrines.  In  obedience  to  phantom 
beckonings,  he  flitted  hither  and  thither  about  the 
foothills,  but  his  supernatural  friends  failed  him  in 
every  instance.23  He  became  petulant  and  querulous. 
Dfscouraged  and  soured,  he  grows  restive  under  en 
croachments  on  his  scanty  property,24  and  the  abuse 

23  'Should  I  go  to  new  localities '  says  Marshall,  'and  commence  to  open  a 
new  mine,  before  I  could  prospect  the  ground,  numbers  flocked  in  and  com 
menced  seeking  all  around  me,  and,  as  numbers  tell,  some  one  would  find  the 
lead  before  me  and  inform  their  party,  and  the  ground  was  claimed.     Then 
I  would  travel  again. '    Twice  Sutter  gave  him  a  prospector's  outfit  and  started 
him.     He  was  no  longer  content  with  his  former  plodding  industry.     '  He 
was  always  after  big  things,'  Sutter  said.     I  have  wondered  that  he  did  not 
in  the  first  instance  attribute  his  discovery  to  the  direction  of  the  spirits. 

24  Early  in  1849,  after  Winters  and  Bayley  had  purchased  the  half-interest 
of  Sutter  in  the  saw-mill,  and  one  third  of  the  half-interest  of  Marshall, 


and  butchery  of  his  aboriginal  proteges.  Forced  by 
the  now  enraged  miners  to  flee  from  his  home  and 
property,  he  shoulders  his  pack  of  forty  pounds  and 
tramps  the  mountains  and  ravines,  living  on  rice.  He 
seeks  employment  and  is  refused.  "  We  employ  you  1" 
they  cry  ironically.  "You  must  find  gold  for  us. 
You  found  it  once,  and  you  can  again."  And  it  is 
told  for  a  fact,  and  sworn  to  by  his  former  partner, 
that  they  "  threatened  to  hang  him  to  a  tree,  mob 
him,  etc.,  unless  he  would  go  with  them  and  point 
out  the  rich  diggings."25 

There  is  something  unaccountable  in  all  this.  Mar 
shall  must  have  rendered  himself  exceedingly  obnox 
ious  to  the  miners,  who,  though  capable  of  fiendish  acts, 
were  not  fiends.  While  badly  treated  in  some  respects, 
he  was  undoubtedly  to  blame  in  others.  Impelled  by 
the  restlessness  which  had  driven  him  west,  and  over 
come  by  morbid  reflections,  he  allowed  many  of  his  good 
qualities  to  drift.  In  his  dull,  unimaginative  way  he 
out-Timoned  Timon  in  misanthropy.  He  fancied  him 
self  followed  by  a  merciless  fate,  and  this  was  equiva 
lent  to  courting  such  a  destiny.26  It  is  to  be  regretted 

miners  and  others  came  in  and  squatted  on  the  ground  claimed  by  Marshall, 
regardless  of  the  posted  notices  warning  them  off.  'Thirteen  of  Sutter  & 
Marshall's  oxen  soon  went  down  into  the  canon,'  says  Marshall,  'and  thence 
down  hungry  men's  throats.  These  cost  $400  per  yoke  to  replace.  Seven  of 
my  horses  went  to  carry  weary  men's  packs.'  The  mill  hands  deserted,  and 
before  the  mill  could  be  started  again  certain  white  men  at  Murderer's  Bar 
butchered  some  Indians  and  ravished  their  women.  The  Indians  retaliated 
and  killed  four  or  five  white  men.  So  far  it  was  an  even  thing;  the  white 
men  had  met  only  their  just  deserts.  But  the  excuse  to  shoot  natives  was  too 
good  to  be  lost.  A  mob  gathered,  and  failing  to  find  the  hostile  tribe,  attacked 
the  Culumas,  who  were  wholly  innocent  and  friendly,  and  many  of  them  at 
work  about  the  mill.  Of  these  they  shot  down  seveh;  and  when  Marshall  in 
terfered  to  defend  his  people,  the  mob  threatened  him,  so  that  he  was  obliged 
to  fly  for  his  life.  After  a  time  he  returned  to  Coloma  only  to  find  the  place 
claimed  by  others,  who  had  laid  out  a  town  there.  Completely  bankrupt, 
Marshall  was  obliged  to  leave  the  place  in  search  of  food,  and  soon  he  was  in 
formed  that  the  miners  had  destroyed  the  dam,  and  stolen  the  mill  timbers, 
and  that  was  the  end  of  the  saw  mill.  'Neither  Marshall,  Winters,  nor 
Bayley  ever  received  a  dollar  for  their  property. '  Parsons'  Life  of  Marshall, 

25  'To  save  him,  I  procured  and  secreted  a  horse,  and  with  this  he  escaped.' 
Affidavit  of  John  Winters,  in  Parsons'  Life  of  Marshall,  178.    See  also  Mar 
shall's  statement,  in  Dunbar's  Romance  of  the  A</e,  117-23. 

26  'I  wandered  for  more  than  four  years,   he  continues, . . . '  feeling  myself 
under  some  fatal  influence,  a  curse,  or  at   least  some  bad  circumstances.' 

102  AT  THE  MINES. 

that  he  sank  also  into  poverty,  passing  the  last  twenty- 
eight  years  of  his  life  near  Coloma,  the  centre  of  his 
dreams,  sustained  by  scanty  fare  and  shadowy  hopes 
of  recognition.27 


Finally  he  breaks  forth:  'I  see  no  reason  why  the  government  should  give  to 
others  and  not  to  me.  In  God's  name,  can  the  circumstance  of  my  being  the 
first  to  find  the  gold  regions  of  California  be  a  cause  to  deprive  me  of  every 
right  pertaining  to  a  citizen  from  under  the  flag?'  These,  I  say,  are  not  the 
sentiments  of  a  healthy  mind.  The  government  was  not  giving  more  to  others 
than  to  him.  One  great  trouble  was,  that  he  early  conceived  the  idea,  wholly 
erroneous,  that  the  government  and  the  world  owed  him  a  great  debt;  that 
but  for  him  gold  in  California  never  would  have  been  found.  In  some  way 
Marshall  became  mixed  up  with  that  delectable  association,  the  Hounds.  Of 
course  he  denies  having  been  one  of  them,  but  his  knowledge  of  their  watch 
word  and  other  secrets  looks  suspicious.  .Judging  entirely  by  his  own  state-- 
ments,  particularly  by  his  denials,  I  deem  it  more  than  probable  that  he  was 
a  member  of  the  band. 

27  Returning  to  Coloma  in  the  spring  of  1857,  he  obtained  some  odd  jobs  of 
work  sawing  wood,  making  gardens,  and  cleaning  wells.     Then  for  $15  he 
purchased  some  land  of  little  value  on  the  hill-side  adjacent  and  planted  a 
vineyard.     He  obtained  for  some  years  a  small  pension  from  the  state.     'An 
object  of  charity  on  the  part  of  the  state,'  says  Barstow,  Rtat.,  MS.,  14.    Sut- 
ter,  Pers.  Rem.,  MS.,  205,  says  the  same.     The  Elko  Independent,  Jan.   15, 
1870,  states  that  he  was  then  living  at  Kelsey's  Diggings.      'He  is  upward  of 
fifty  years  of  age,  and  though  feeble,  is  obliged  to  work  for  his  board  and 
clothes,  not  being  able  to  earn  more.'     Mr  E.  Weller  writes  me  in  Aug.  188 L 
from  Coloma:  '  Mr  Marshall  is  living  at  Kelsey,  about  three  miles  from  this 
place.     He  has  a  small  orchard  in  this  place  which  he  rents  out  for  $25  per 
year.     He  was  never  married.     He  is  trying  a  little  at  mining,  but  it  is  rather 
up-hill  work,  for  he  is  now  a  feeble  old  man. '    He  died  in  August  1885,  aged 
73.    Among  authorities  referring  to  him  are  Barstow's  Stat.,  MS.,  14;  Burnett's 
Rec.,  MS.,  ii.  10;  Crosby's  Events  in  CaL,  MS.,  17;  Annals  of  S.  F.,  767,  where 
may  be  found  a  poor  portrait;  Sutler's  Pers.  Rec.,  MS.,  160 and  205-6;  Powers' 
Afoot,  292-3;  Schlagintweit,  CaL,  216.    The  Sac.  ^cord-Union,  Jan.  20,  1872, 
states  that  he  was  '  forced  in  his  old  age  to  eke  out  a  scanty  subsistence  by 
delivering  rough  lectures  based  upon  his  wretched  career.'  Further  references, 
Grass  Valley  Union,  April  19,  1870;  Santa  Cruz  Sentinel,  July  17,  1875;  Fol- 
som   Telegraph,  Sept.   17,    1871;  Solano  Republican,   Sept.  29,    1870;  Nupa 
Register,  'Aug.    1,   1874;    Vallejo   Chron.,    Oct.   10,    1874;    Truckee    Tribune, 
Jan.  8,  1870;  S.  F.  Alta  CaL,  May  5,  1872,  and  Aug.   17,  1874;  8.  F.  News 
Letter,  July   19,   1879;  History  of  Nevada,  78;  S.  F.  Bulletin,  Dec.   6,  1855; 
Aug.  10-14,  1885;   Yolo  Co.  Hist.,  86;  Tinkham's  Hixt.  Stockton,  108;  Lancey's 
Cruise  of  the  Dale,  MS.,  66;  SanJoaquin  County  Hist.,  20;  SutterCo.  Hist.,  21. 
The  Romance  of  the  Age,  or  the  Discovery  of  Gold  in  California,  by  Edward  E. 
Dunbar,  New  York,  1867,  was  written  with  the  view  of  securing  government 
relief  for  Sutter.     Dunbar  writes  graphically,  and  begins  his  book  with  these 
words:  '  Somebody  has  said  that  history  is  an  incorrigible  liar. '    If  all  history 
were  written  as  Mr  Dunbar  writes,  I  should  fully  agree  with  him.     Little 
that  is  reliable  has  been  printed  on  Marshall  and  the  gold  discovery,  eye 
witnesses,  even,  seemingly  forgetting  more  than  they  remember.     The  most 
important  work  upon  the  subject  IB  the  Life  and  Adventures  of  James   W, 
Marshall,  by  George  Frederic  Parsons,  published  in  Sacramento  by  James  W. 
Marshall  and  W.  Burke,  in  1870.     The  facts  here  brought  out  with  the  utmost 
clearness  and   discrimination  were   taken  from   those  best   knowing  them. 
George  Frederic  Parsons  was  born  at  Brighton,  England,  June  15,  1840.     He 
was  educated  at   private  schools.     Having  spent  five  years  at   sea,  during 
which  he  several  times  visite^  the  East  Indies,  he  was  attracted  by  tli« 


With  regard  to  Sutter,  his  position  and  possibilities, 
there  was  within  reach  boundless  wealth  for  him,  could 
he  have  seized  it;  his  fall  was  as  great  though  not  so 
rapid  as  Marshall's.  Out  of  the  saw-mill  scheme  he 
came  well  enough,  gathering  gold  below  Coloma,  and 
selling  his  half-interest  in  the  mill  for  $6,000.  His 
troubles  began  at  the  flour-mill.  After  he  had  ex 
pended  not  less  than  $30,000  in  a  vain  attempt  to 
complete  it,  it  went  to  decay.28  The  men  in  tlie 

reports  of  the  gold-fields  of  Cariboo  in  1862,  and  made  an  expedition  thither. 
Keturning  from  the  mines  unsuccessful,  he  entered  journalism  in  Victoria, 
V.  I.  In  1803  he  started  a  paper  called  the  North  Pnific  Time*,  at  New 
Westminster,  B.  C.  The  population  was  too  small  to  support  it,  and  it  was 
abandoned  in  a  few  months.  He  then  went  t,o  San  Francisco,  and  joined  the 
staff  of  the  Examiner.  In  1867  he  left  that  paper  to  take  a  position  on  the 
/SF.  F.  Times.  Entering  the  local  staff,  he  finally  became  the  chief  editorial 
wricer  of  the  paper,  and  occupied  that  post  when  it  was  merged  in  the  Ada,. 
This  occurred  at  the  end  of  1869,  and  the  same  winter  Mr  Parsons  assumed 
editorial  control  of  the  Sacramento  Record,  a  republican  journal.  He  con 
tinued  to  edit  the  Record  until  it  was  consoli  'ated  with  the  Sacramento 
Union  as  the  Record- Union,  and  subsequently  to  that  until  1882,  when  he  left 
California  and  accepted  a  position  on  the  editorial  staff  of  the  New  York 
Tribune.  Mr  Parsons  was  married  in  1869,  and  had  one  daughter,  Melami, 
who  died  in  1881  of  typhoid  fever.  He  was  a  contributor  to*  the  Overland 
Monthly  during  the  editorship  of  Bret  Harte,  and  has  written  several  short 
items  besides  magazine  articles,  ordinary  press  work,  reviews,  and  his  life  of 
Marshall.  Mr  Parsons'  life  has  been  notable  for  its  quietness  and  evenness. 
I  have  not  known  a  journalist  in  the  field  of  my  history  superior,  if  equal, 
to  him  in  philosophic  insight,  knowledge  of  men  and  things,  critical  famil 
iarity  \vith  literature,  or  power  and  charm  of  style.  He  is  not  a  man,  how 
ever,  who  would  ever  parade  his  name  before  the  public.  Personal  notoriety 
is  repellant  to  him.  Considering  his  capacity  and  character,  the  people  of 
the  whole  country  are  to  be  congratulated  that  he  has  taken  an  editorial  place 
on  the  Tribune,  a  journal  of  splendid  talent  and  national  influence,  as  the 
sphere  of  his  influence  is  thus  greatly  enlarged.  Mr  Parsons  is  a  man  of  solid 
accomplishments  and  sterling  integrity.  He  is  preeminently  a  hater  of  shams 
in  politics  or  society.  It  would  be  to  the  advantage  of  the  people  of  the 
United  States  if  editors  like  him  were  more  numerous. 

36 '  My  grist-mill  never  was  finished.  Everything  was  stolen,  even  the 
stones.  There  is  a  saying  that  men  will  steal  everything  but  a  mile-stone  and 
a  mill-stone.  They  stole  my  mill-stones.  They  stole  the  bells  from  the  fort, 
and  gate-weights;  the  hides  they  stole,  and  salmon -barrels.  I  had  200  bar 
rels  which  I  had  made  for  salmon.  I  was  just  beginning  to  cure  salmon  then. 
I  had  put  up  some  before,  enough  to  try  it,  and  to  ascertain  that  it  would  be 
a  good  business.  Some  of  the  cannon  at  the  fort  were  stolen,  and  some  I  gave 
to  neighbors  that  they  might  fire  them  on  the  4th  of  July.  My  property  was 
all  left  exposed,  and  at  the  mercy  of  the  rabble,  when  gold  was  discovered. 
My  men  all  deserted  me.  I  could  not  shut  the  gates  of  my  fort  and  keep  out 
the  rabble.  They  would  have  broken  them  down.  The  country  swarmed  with 
lawless  men.  Emigrants  drove  their  stock  into  my  yard,  and  used  my  grain 
with  impunity.  Expostulation  did  no  good.  I  was  alone.  There  was  no 
law.  If  one  felt  one's  self  insulted,  one  might  shoot  the  offender.  One  man 
shot  another  for  a  slight  provocation  in  the  fort  under  my  very  nose.  Phil 
osopher  Pickett  shot  a  very  good  man  who  differed  with  him  on  some  ques- 

104  AT  THE  MINES. 

fields  asked  for  more  and  more  pay,  until  a  demand 
for  ten  dollars  a  day  compelled  Sutter  to  let  them  go. 
These  were  the  first  to  leave  him ;  then  his  clerk  went, 
then  his  cook,  and  finally  his  mechanics.29  At  the 
tannery,  which  was  now  for  the  first  time  becoming 
profitable,  leather  was  left  to  rot  in  the  vats,  and  a  large 
quantity  of  collected  hides  were  rendered  valueless. 
So  in  all  the  manufactories,  shoe-shop,  saddle-shop, 
hat  and  blacksmith  shops,  the  men  deserted,  leaving 
their  work  in  a  half-finished  state.  Where  others  suc 
ceeded  he  failed;  he  tried  merchandising  at  Coloma, 
but  in  vain,  and  retired  in  January  1849.  The  noise  of 
interlopers  and  the  bustle  of  business  about  the  fort 
discomfited  the  owner,  and  with  his  Indians  he  moved 
to  Hock  Farm,  then  in  charge  of  a  majordomo.  Sut 
ter  evidently  could  not  cope  with  the  world,  partic 
ularly  with  the  sharp  and  noisy  Yankee  world.30 

Tenfold  greater  were  Sutter's  advantages  to  profit 
by  this  discovery  than  were  those  of  his  neighbors, 
who  secured  rich  results.  With  a  well-provisioned 
fortress  adjacent  to  the  mines,  a  large  grant  of  land 

tion.'  Sutter's  Pers.  Rem.,  MS.,  195-6.  All  Sutter's  pains  in  establishing  indus 
tries  went  for  nothing.  Burnett's  liec.,  MS.,  ii.  13;  Thornton's  Or.  and  Cal., 
ii.  270;  Sac.  III.,  7;  Browne's  Res.,  15;  Gold  Hill  News,  April  16,  1872;  Lar- 
k'm's  Docs,  MS.,  vi.  63. 

29  '  The  Mormons  did  not  like  to  leave  my  mill  unfinished,'  Sutter  remarks, 
*  but  they  got  the  gold  fever  like  everybody  else.'  Hutchings*  Mag.,  ii.   197. 
See  also  Santa  Cruz  Sentinel,  July  17,  1875. 

30  As  a  matter  of  fact,  the  Swiss  had  nothing  whatever  to  complain  of.    He 
was  his  own  greatest  enemy.     His  representations  of  the  disastrous  effect 
upon  him  of  the  gold  discovery  were  greatly  exaggerated.     They  were  by 
no  means  so  bad  as  he  wished  them  to  appear.     During  harvest-time  in  the 
year  of   discovery  he  was  much  better  off  than  his  neighbors,  who   never 
asked  indemnification  from  the  government.    Says  Col  Mason,  who  was  there  ia 
July:  '  I  before  mentioned  that  the  greater  part  of  the  farmers  and  rancheros 
had  abandoned  their  fields  to  go  to  the  mines;  this  is  not  the  case  with  Capt. 
Sutter,  who  was  carefully  gathering  his  wheat,  estimated  at  40,000  bushels. 
Flour  is  already  worth  at  Sutter's  $36  a  barrel,  and  soon  will  be  $-30.     It  was 
reported  that  Capt.  Sutter's  crop  of  wheat  for  1846  would  be  75,000  bushels.' 
Sherwood's  Pocket  Guide  to  Cal.,  18.     He  had  received  liberally  from  the 
Mexican  government  what  was  liberally  ratified  by  the  American  govern 
ment.     Far  more  manly,  not  to  say  respectable,  would  it  have  been  had  he 
lived  modestly  on  some  small  portion  of  the  fruit  of  his  labors,  or  of  good 
fortune,  instead  of  spending  his  old  age  complaining,  and  importuning  the 
government  for  alms.     Everything  had  been  given  him,  fertile  lands,  and 
golden  opportunity.     With  these  he  should  have  been  content.     In  return — I 
gladly  record  it — he  gave  aid  to  suffering  emigrants,  and  nobly  exercised  a 

-bounteous  hospitality,  and  that  to  many  who  afterward  treated  him  vilely. 


stocked  with  cattle  and  horses — land  on  which  shortly 
after  began  to  be  built  the  second  city  in  the  state — • 
and  with  broad  fields  under  cultivation ;  with  a  market, 
at  fabulous  prices,  for  everything  he  could  supply — 
he  should  have  barrelled  a  schooner-load  of  gold-dust, 
even  though  the  emigrants  did  encroach  on  his  claims, 
settle  on  his  land,  steal  his  horses  and  other  effects, 
and  butcher  some  of  his  cattle  and  hogs.  Further 
than  this,  it  was  not  until  more  than  a  year  after  the 
discovery,  during  which  time  the  owner  of  New  Hel 
vetia  abandoned  his  duties  and  let  things  drift,  that 
any  serious  inroads  were  made  on  his  droves  of  wild 
and  uncared-for  cattle.  The  truth  is,  had  the  grand 
discovery  been  less,  Sutter's  loss  would  have  been  less; 
had  the  discovery  been  quite  small,  Sutter's  profit  from 
it  would  have  been  great.  In  other  words,  Sutter 
was  not  man  enough  to  grasp  and  master  his  good 

There  are  those  who  have  deemed  it  their  duty  to 
censure  California  for  not  doing  more  for  Sutter  and 
Marshall.  Such  censure  is  not  only  unjust,  but  silly 
and  absurd.  There  was  no  particular  harm  in  flinging 
to  these  men  a  gratuity  out  of  the  public  purse,  and 
something  of  the  kind  was  done.  It  was  wholly 
proper  to  hang  a  portrait  of  Sutter  in  the  hall  of  the 
state  capitol  beside  that  of  Yallejo  and  others. 

If  there  are  any  who  wish  to  worship  the  memory 
of  Marshall,  let  his  likeness  be  also  placed  in  the  pan 
theon.  It  is  all  a  matter  of  taste.  But  when  outside 
critics  begin  to  talk  of  duty  and  decency  on  the  part 
of  the  state,  it  is  well  enough  to  inquire  more  closely 
into  the  matter,  and  determine  just  what,  if  anything, 
is  due  to  these  men. 

When  a  member  of  the  commonwealth  by  his  genius 
or  efforts  renders  the  state  a  great  service,  it  is  proper 
that  such  service  should  be  publicly  acknowledged, 
and  if  the  person  or  his  family  become  poor  and  need 

106  AT  THE  MINES. 

pecuniary  aid,  the  state  should  give  it  liberally  and 
ungrudgingly.  The  people  of  California  are  among 
the  most  free-hearted  and  free-handed  of  any  in  the 
world;  there  never  has  been  any  popular  feeling 
against  Marshall  and  Sutter;  that  more  was  not  given 
them  was  neither  a  matter  of  money  nor  a  matter  of 
ill-will  or  prejudice.  The  question  was  simply  asked, 
What  had  these  men  done  to  entitle  them  to  lavish 
reward  on  the  part  of  the  people?  To  one  of  them, 
and  him  a  foreigner,  was  secured  by  the  general  gov 
ernment  a  title  to  princely  possessions  in  the  midst  of 
princely  opportunities.  That  he  failed  to  secure  to 
himself  the  best  and  most  lasting  advantages  of  his 
position,  and  like  a  child  let  go  his  hold  on  all  his  vast 
possessions,  was  no  fault  of  the  people,  and  entitles 
him  to  no  special  sympathy.  Marshall,  made  of  quite 
common  clay,  but  still  a  free-born  American  citizen, 
with  rights  equal  to  the  best,  happened  to  stumble  on 
gold  a  week,  or  a  month,  or  six  months  before  some 
one  else  would  certainly  have  done  so.  The  fame  of 
it  was  his,  and  as  much  of  the  gold  as  he  chose  to 
shovel  up  and  carry  away.  There  was  not  the  least 
merit  on  his  part  connected  with  the  event.  That  he 
failed  to  profit  by  his  opportunity,  assuming  that  the 
world,  by  reason  of  the  immortal  accident,  owed  him  a 
great  debt  which  it  would  not  pay;  that  he  became 
petulant,  half-crazed,  and  finally  died  in  obscurity — 
was  no  fault  of  the  people.  Any  free-born  American 
citizen  has  the  right  to  do  the  same  if  he  chooses.  I 
grant  that  he  as  well  as  Sutter  could  justly  claim 
recompense  for  spoliation  by  mobs — though  there  is 
no  evidence  that  they  ever  suffered  greatly  at  the 
hands  of  mobs — and  the  continuance  of  the  temporary 
pension  granted  them  would  not  have  been  particu 
larly  objectionable,  on  grounds  similar  to  those  applied 
to  Hargrave,  the  Australian  gold-finder.  The  services 
of  the  latter,  however,  had  the  consecration  of  a  self- 
imposed  task — exploration  with  an  aim.  As  a  blind 


instrument  in  the  hands  of  inevitable  development, 
as  a  momentary  favorite  of  fortune,  I  concede  Mar 
shall  every  credit.  I  also  admit  that  Sutter,  as  the 
builder  of  a  great  establishment  in  the  wilderness, 
with  industries  supporting  numerous  dependents,  thus 
bringing  the  truest  method  of  culture  to  savages,  and 
as  the  promoter  of  the  undertaking  at  Coloma,  is 
entitled  to  a  share  in  the  recognition  which  must 
connect  him  with  the  accidental  founders  of  the  golden 
era  of  California.  But  to  talk  of  injustice  or  niggard 
liness  on  the  part  of  the  state  of  California;  to  imply 
that  there  was  any  necessity  for  either  of  these  men 
to  throw  themselves  away,  or  that  the  people  of  Cal 
ifornia  did  not  feel  or  do  rightly  by  them — is,  as  I 
said  before,  silly  and  absurd.31 

31  Fuller  references  for  the  preceding  six  chapters  are:  Bidwell's  Cal.  in 
1841-8,  MS.,  passim;  Galindo,  Apuntes,  MS.,  68-9;  Buff  urn1 8  Six  Months, 
45-6,  50,  53-5,  67-9,  104-5,  126-38;  Dunbar's  Romance  of  the  Age,  92-100, 
103,  107-16;  Kip,  in  Overland  Monthly,  ii.  410;  Zamacois,  Hist.  Mej.,  x.  1141; 
Ferry,  CaL,  103-4,  315-20;  Illust.  Napa  Co.,  and  Hist.  Napa  and  Lake, 
passim;  Annals  of  S.  F.,  130-2,  174,  210,  311,  407,  486;  Arch.  Cal.,  Un 
bound  Docs,  MS.,  141,  318,  408-11;  Clyman's  Diary,  MS.;  Coltoris  Three. 
Years,  266,  451;  Revere's  Tour  of  Duty,  228-52;  Castanares,  Col.  Doc.,  MS., 
23;  Vallcjo  (S.),  Notas  H  istdricas,  MS.,  35;  Hall's  Hist.,  192-3;  Find  la's  State 
ment,  MS.,  5-7;  Tinkham's  Hist.  Stockton,  1-50,  71^,  108-15,  303;  U.  S. 
Gov.  Docs,  H.  Ex.  17,  528-36,  561;  Farnham's  Cal.,  354-6;  Dwinelle's  Add. 
lef ore  Pioneers,  1866,  28;  Hancock's  Thirteen  Years,  MS.,  121-2;  Yolo  Co. 
Hist.,  passim;  Dana's  Two  Years,  324;  Coast  Review,  iv.  73-5,  217,  265-8; 
v.  25-8,  65-8,  107-8;  Treasury  of  Travel,  99-101;  Napa  Register,  Aug.  1, 
1874;  First  Steamship  Pioneers,  368;  Janssens,  Vida  y  A  vent. ,  MS.,  198-200; 
Johnson's  Cal.  and  Or.;  Coutt's  Diary,  MS.,  passim;  Slocum  and  Co.'s  Contra 
Costa  Co.  Hist.,  passim;  Foster's  Gold  Regions,  17-22;  Yuba  Co.  Hist.,  33-7, 
107,  129-30;  Coronel,  Cosas  de  CaL,  MS.;  Hist.  Atlas  Alameda  Co.,  17-20; 
Revue,  des  Deux  Mondes,  Feb.  1,  1849;  Tyler's  Mormon  Battalion,  333;  Tut- 
hiWs  CaL,  226-34;  Wood's  Hist.  Alam.  Co.,  passim;  Bandini,  Apuntes  Hist. 
Alta  CaL,  MS.,  7,  17-19,  48-9;  Schuck's  Scrap-Book,  76-83;  Tullidge's  Life 
of  Young,  203-4,  207-8;  Hist.  Marin  Co.,  passim;  Sac.  Direct.,  1871,  17; 
Frignet,  Hist.  CaL,  79-80;  Palmer's  Wagon  Trains,  MS.,  43;  Truckee  Trib 
une,  Jan.  8,  1870;  Browne's  Mining  Res.,  13-16;  CaL  Pioneers,  Celebration 
Scraps;  Herbert  Ainslie's  Journal,  Panama,  Feb.  1849;  Bryant's  What  I  Saw 
in  CaL,  451,  etc.;  Gold  Hill  News,  Apr.  16,  1872;  Capron's  CaL,  184-8; 
Auger,  Fo.y.  en  CaL,  149-56;  Baxter's  IV.  Coast  A mer. ,  408;  Oroville  Mercury, 
Dec.  31,  1875;  Birnie's  Biog.,  in  Pion.  Arch.,  93-4;  Monterey  Herald,  Oct.  15, 
1875;  Cal.  Past  and  Pres.,  72-105;  J.  Ross  Browne,  in  Overland  Monthly,  xv. 
345;  Wells'  Hist.  Butte  Co.,  129;  Calistoya  Tribune,  Apr.  4,  11,  12,  1872; 
Coloma  Argus,  in  Hittell's  Handbook,  14;  Thompson  and  West's  Hist.  Sac. 
Co.,  passim;  Utah,  Hdbk  of  Ref.,  65;  Frost's  Hist.  Cal.,  39-55;  Dept  Rec., 
MS.,  ix.  136;  Elliott  &  Co.'s  Hist.  Ariz.,  190;  Centenn.  Book  Alam.  Co., 
37-56;  Colusa  Co.  Hist.,  25-36;  Placer  Times,  vol.  i.  no.  48,  p.  2;  Velasco, 
Sonora,  288-97;  Bol.  Soc.  Mex.  Geog.,  xi.  108-9;  Alam.  Encinal,  March  2, 
1878;  Butte  Co.  Illust..  127-9;  Carver's  Travel*,  122;  Willey's  Pers.  Mem., 

108  AT  THE  MINES. 

MS.,  19-26;  Id.,  Thirty  Years,  26;  Salt  Lake  City  Trib.,  June  11,  1879; 
Bancroft's  Pert.  Obs.,  MS.,  171;  Illust.  of  Contra  Costa,  Co.,  4-33;  Whitney's 
Metallic  Wealth,  pp.  xxi.-xxxii.;  J.  J.  Warner,  in  Alta  Cal.,  May  18,  1868; 
Austin  Reese  Riv.  Rereule,  July  17,  1864,  Aug.  10,  1865,  Jan.  29,  1872;  Cal. 
Chronicle,  Jan.  28,  1856;  Prescott Miner,  Nov.  22,  1878;  Niles'  Reg.,  Ixiii.  96; 
Ixxv.,  index  "gold  mines;"  Cronies  Nat.  Wealth,  109;  Culver's  Sac.  City 
Direct.,  71;  Barnes*  Or.  and  Cal.,  MS.,  11;  George  M.  Evans,  in  the  Oregon 
Bulletin,  Jan.  12,  1872,  from  Antioch  Ledger,  Feb.  3,  1872,  and  Mendocino 
Dem.,  Feb.  1,  1872;  Hunt's  Merch.  Mag.,  xxxi.  385-6;  Barlow's  Stat.,  MS., 
14;  Carson  State  Reg.,  Jan.  27,  1872;  Castroville  Argus,  Sept.  7,  1872;  Wort- 
ley's  Travels  in  U.  S.,  223;  Sac.  Illust.,  7;  Lo  Que  Sabe,  MS.;  Green's  Life 
and  Advent.,  17;  Trinity  Journal,  Weaverville,  Feb.  1,  1868;  June  20,  1874; 
Gilroy  Advocate,  Apr.  24,  1875;  Lake  Co.  Bee,  March  8,  1873;  Monitor 
Gazette,  Aug.  19,  1865;  Los  Angeles  W.  News,  Oct.  26,  1872;  Marshall's  Dis- 
cov.  ofG.tld,  in  Hutchings'  Mag.,  ii.  200;  U.  8.  Gov.  Docs,  30th  cong.  2d  sess., 
H.  Ex.  Doc.  1,  pt  i.  9-10,  51-69,  in  Mex.  Treaties,  vii.  no.  9;  Hist.  Napa  and 
Lake  Counties,  passim;  R\iss'  Biog.,  MS.,  5;  Oakland  Times,  March  6,  1880; 
J ' lardy' 's  Trav.  in  Mex.,  331-2;  8.  I.  News,  ii.  134,  142,  146-7,  151,  158-66, 
193-4;  Oroville  W.  Mercury,  Dec.  31,  1875;  New  Tacoma  W.  Ledger,  Oct.  8, 
1880;  Harle's  Skaggs'  Husbands,  299-309;  Cal.  Star,  passim;  Calif  or  jiian, 
passim;  Cal.  Star  and  Californian,  1848,  passim;  S.  F.  Direct.,  1852-3,  8-9; 
Ross'  Stat.,  MS.,  14;  Rul  (Miguel),  Consult.  Diputado,  60;  Red  Bluff  Indep., 
Jan.  17,  1866;  Henshaw's  Hist.  Events,  4-6;  Herald,  Nov.  24,  1848;  Jan.  20, 
1849;  Marin  Co.  Hist.,  52-3;  Sac.  Rec.-Union,  Jan.  20,  1872,  Aug.  28,  1880; 
8.  Diego  Arch.,  Index,  92;  S.  Diego  Union,  June  2,  1875;  Nevada  Gaz.t  Jan. 
22,  1868;  -S.  F.  Call,  Sept.  16,  1870;  Sept.  23,  1871;  S.  Joaquin  Co.  Hist., 
passim;  8.  F.  News  Letter,  Sept.  11,  1875;  8.  F.  Post,  Apr.  10,  1875;  Roswag, 
Metaux,  209-406;  Sac.  Daily  Union,  Apr.  27,  1855;  June  5,  1858;  Oct.  24, 
1864;  June  7,  1867,  etc.;  8.  F.  Pac.  News,  Oct.  28,  1850;  8.  F.  Stock  Rept, 
March  19,  1880;  Pfeifer's  Sec.  Journey,  290;  Illust.  Hist.  San  Mateo  Co.,  4-16; 
San  Joaquin  Valley  Argus,  Sept.  12,  1874;  C.  E.  Pickett,  in  Cal.  Chron., 
Jan.  28,  1856;  Powers'  Afoot,  290-2;  8.  F.  Jour,  of  Comm.,  Aug.  30,  1876; 
Hist.  Atlas  Santa  Clara  Co.,  9-10,  32-34,  77-81,  96-98,  116-26,  174-218, 
244-77,  328-35,  4S4-8,  543-4;  Hist.  Santa  Cruz  Co.,  7^9;  S.  Jose-  Pioneer, 
Jan.  27,  1877;  Jan.  19,  1878;  S.  F.  Picayune,  Oct.  12,  1850;  S.  F.  Herald, 
Dec.  31,  1855;  8.  F.  New  Age,  June  22,  1867;  Quigley's  Irish  Race,  146; 
Sherman's  Mem.,  i.  40-58;  Scala,  Nouv.  Ann.  Voy.,  cxx.  3(32-5;  cxliii. 
245;  cxliv.  382-90;  cxlvi.  118-21;  Saxon's  Five  Years,  passim;  Sherwood's 
Cal;  Grass  Valley  Union,  Apr.  19,  1870;  Simpson's  Gold  Mines,  4-5,  17; 
Holinski,  La  Cal.,  142-4;  Friend  (Honolulu),  July  1,  1848,  Nov.  1,  1848,  May 
1, 1849,  etc.;  Scientific  Press,  May  11,  1872;  Hist.  Sonoma  Co.,  passim;  Hist. 
Atlas  Sonoma  Co.,  passim;  Stillman's  Golden  Fleece,  19-27;  Stockton  Indep., 
Oct.  9,  1869;  Sept.  14,  1872;  Oct.  19,  23,  1875;  Dec.  6,  1879;  Smith's  Address 
to  Calveston,  14;  El  Sonorense,  May  16,  1849;  Clark's  Statement,  MS.;  Hughe*' 
Cal.,  119;  Sutter,  in  Hutchings'  Mag.,  ii.  194-7;  Taylor's  Eldorado,  i.  73; 
Thomas  Sprague,  in  Hutchings'  Mag.,  v.  352;  Quart.  Review,  xci.  507-8; 
1350,  no.  87,  p.  416;  Santa  Cruz  Sentinel,  July  17,  1875,  May  29,  1880;  Hist. 
Tehama  Co.,  11-15,  53,  109-12;  Mex.  Mem.  Sec.  Est.  y  Rel,  1835,  no.  6; 
Mendocino  Co.  Hist.,  52-3;  Monterey  Herald,  Oct.  15,  1875;  8.  F.  Chron. , 
Jan.  8,  Sept.  19,  1880;  Simonin,  Grand  Quest,  286-9;  Id.,  La  Vie  Souterraine, 
3D9;  Merced  People,  June  8,  1872;  McKune,  in  Cal.  Assoc.  Pioneer,  1st 
Annual,  42;  South.  Quart.  Rev.,  viii.  199;  S.  F.  Bulletin,  Dec.  6,  1855;  Oct. 

2,  Dec.  7,  31,  1858;  Aug.  13,  1859,  etc.;  8.  F.  Alta  Cal.,  Oct.  15,  1851;  May 

3,  Nov.  21,  1852;  June  29,  1854;  Dec.  22,  1855;  July  31,  1856;  March  28, 
Nov.  11,  1857,  etc.;  Hist.  Atl.  Sol.  Co.,  passim;  Hist.  Solano  Co.,  passim; 
Seattle  Intelligencer,  June  6,  1874;  Hunt's  Mer.  Mag.,  xx.  91,  111,  209;  xxi. 
567-8;  xxii.  226-7,  321;  xxiv.  768;  xxxiv.  631-2;  J.  W.  Marshall,  in  Hutch- 
ings'  Mag.,  ii.  199-201;  Mining  Rev.,  5;  Mining  Rev.  and  Stock  Ledger,  1878, 
126;  H'txt.  Sutter  Co.,  21-2;  Hutchings'  Mag.,  ii.  196-201;  iv.  340;   U.  8.  Gov. 
Docs,  H.  Ex.  Doc.  no.  5,  p.  158;  no.  17,  passim;  Mason's  Repts,  July  19,  Aug. 


17,  1848;  Uny^  Coll.  Mining  Cat.,  i.  1,  50;  Id.,  Coll.  Mining  Srraps,  v.  2, 
3,  17,  175;  LI.,  Colt.  Cat.  Notes,  iii.  7-8;  v.  17;  Harry's  Up  arid  Down,  92  3; 
Robinson's  Ccd.  and  its  Gold  Rpyion*t  17-27,  47-8;  .Id.,  Life  in  Cal.t  190; 
Duflot  de  Mofras,  Expl.  Or.  et  Cal.,  i.  137;  WUkes'  Narr.  U.  8.  Ex.  Exped., 
v.  181,  190,  195;  Daily's  Narr.,  MS.,  63;  Oslo,  Hist.  CaL,  MS.,  506;  Biyler'a 
Diary  of  a  Mormon,  MS.,  passim;  Ifallejo,  Docs,  MS.,  i.  140-1,  369-70;  xii. 
332;  QillfSpie'a  Vig.  Com.,  MS.,  passim;  Alvarado,  Hist.  Cal.,  MS.,  i.  77;  iv. 
161;  Slitter's  Pers.  Hem.,  MS.,  passim;  Id.,  Diary,  MS.,  passim;  Burnett's 
Recoil.  Past,  MS.  i.-ii.  passim;  Amador,  Memorias,  MS.,  177-80;  Larkin's 
Docs,  MS.,  i.  116;  iii.  98;  iv.  318;  v.  25;  vi.  passim;  vii.  28,  80;  Id.,  Off. 
Corresp.t  MS.,  i.  96;  ii.  1^1-41;  Carson's  Earbj  Recoil.,  passim;  Polynesian, 
iv.  114,  137;  vt  passim;  Crosby's  Events  in  CaL,  MS.,  2,  3,  17-19;  Hittell'a 
Handbook  Mining t  passim;  Frisbie's  Reminiscences,  MS.,  30-32,  34-36. 





THE  full  and  permanent  effects  of  the  California 
gold  discovery  cannot  be  estimated.  All  over  the 
world  impulse  was  given  to  industry,  values  changed, 
and  commerce,  social  economy,  and  finance  were  rev 
olutionized.  New  enlightenment  and  new  activities 
succeeded  these  changes,  and  yet  again  followed 
higher  and  broader  developments.  It  was  the  fore 
runner  of  like  great  discoveries  of  the  precious  metals 
elsewhere,  in  Australia,  in  Nevada  and  Idaho  and 
Montana,  in  British  Columbia  and  Alaska.  There  had 
been  nothing  like  it  since  the  inpouring  of  gold 
and  silver  to  Europe,  following  the  discovery  of  the 
New  World  by  Columbus.  It  is  not  in  its  fullest, 
broadest  sense,  however,  that  the  subject  is  to  be 
treated  in  this  chapter.  The  grand  results  can  only 
be  appreciated  as  we  proceed  in  our  history.  It  is 
rather  the  reception  of  the  news  in  the  different  parts 
of  the  world,  and  the  immediate  action  taken  upon  it, 
that  I  will  now  refer  to. 

By  various  ways  intelligence  of  the  gold  discovery 



travelled  abroad.  The  Mormons  carried  it  over  the 
Sierra,  scattered  it  among  the  westward-bound  emi 
grants,  and  laid  it  before  the  people  of  Salt  Lake, 
whence  it  passed  on  to  the  east.  Definite  notice  was 
conveyed  overland  by  the  courier  despatched  specially 
by  the  people  of  San  Francisco,  on  the  1st  of  April, 
1848,  to  carry  letters,  and  to  circulate  in  the  states 
east  of  the  Mississippi  the  article  prepared  by  Four- 
geaud  on  the  Prospects  of  California,  and  printed  in 
the  California  Star  of  several  issues,  in  order  to  stim 
ulate  emigration.1 

The  first  foreign  excitement  was  produced  in  the 
Hawaiian  Islands.  With  this  western  ocean  rendez 
vous  San  Francisco  merchants  had  long  maintained 
commercial  relations,  and  they  now  turned  thither  for 
supplies  incident  to  the  increased  demand  growing  out 
of  the  new  development.  By  the  intelligence  thus 
conveyed,  the  hearts  and  minds  of  men  were  kindled 
into  a  glow  such  as  Kilauea  or  Manua  Haleakala 
never  had  produced.2 

1  The  recent  discovery  of  Marshall  played  no  part  whatever  in  originating 
the  article  and  the  enterprise.     A  mere  allusion  was  made  to  the  finding  of 
gold;  and  nothing  more  was  thought  of  it  than  the  known  presence  of  a  dozen 
other  minerals,  nor  half  so  much  as  of  the  agricultural  and  manufacturing 

2  As  a  forerunner  announcing  the  new  Inferno,  with  two  pounds  of  the 
jnetal  as  tangible  proof,  sailed  from  S.  F.  May  31st  the  Hawaiian  schooner 
Louise,  Menzies  master,  arriving  at  Honolulu  the  17th  of  June.     In  a  half- 
column  article  the  editor  of  the  Polynesian,  of  June  24th,  makes  known  the 
facts  as  gathered  from  the  California  papers,  and  congratulates  Honolulu 
merchants  on  the  prospect  of  the  speedy  payment  of  debts  due  them  by  Cal- 
ifornians,  'probably  not  less  than  $150,000.'     By  the  store-ship  Matilda  from 
New  York  to  Honolulu,  touching  at  Valparaiso,  Callao,  and  Monterey,  Mr 
Colton  writes  to  Mr  Damon,  who  publishes  the  letter  in  the  Friend  of  July, 
with  a  few  editorial  comments.     Afterward  arrived  the  Spanish  brig  Flecha, 
Vasquez  master,  from  Santa  Barbara,  the  Hawaiian  brig  Euphemia,  Vioget 
master,  from  S.  F.,  and  others.     The   Hawaiian  schooner  Mary,  Belcham 
master,  though  sailing  from  S.  F.  before  the  Louise,  did  not  arrive  at  Hono 
lulu  until  the  19th.   Ib.,  The  Friend,  July  1848.     In  its  issue  of  July  8th,  the 
Polynesian  speaks  of  the  rising  excitement  and  the  issuing  of  passports, 
except  to  absconding  debtors,  by  the  minister  of  foreign  relations  to  those 
wishing  to  depart.     'The  fever  rages  high  here,'  writes  Samuel  Varney,  the 
15th  of  -July,  to  Larkin,  'and  there  is  much  preparation  made  for  emigration.' 
L( ckin's  Doc*,   MS.,  vi.  145.     The  file  of  the  Polynesian  runs  on  as  fol 
lows:  July  15th,  one  crowded  vessel  departed  the  llth,  and  half  a  dozen 
others  are  making  ready;  24  persons  give  notice  of  their  intention  to  depart 
thiy  kingdom;   2JO  will  probably  leave  within  two  months  if  passage  can 
be  procured.     Aug.    5th,    69  passports  have   been  granted,  and  as  many 


Before  it  could  scale  the  northern  mountains  the 
news  swept  round  to  Oregon  by  way  of  Honolulu, 
and  was  thence  conveyed  by  the  Hudson's  Bay  people 
to  Victoria  and  other  posts  in  British  Columbia,  to 
forts  Nisqually  and  Vancouver,  reaching  Oregon  City 
early  in  August.3  The  first  doubts  were  dissipated  by 
increased  light  upon  the  subject,  and  streams  of  popu 
lation  set  southward,  both  by  land  -and  water,  until 
more  than  half  of  Oregon's  strength  and  sinew  was 
emptied  into  California.4 

more  have  left  without  passports.  Aug.  26th,  three  vessels  sailed  within  a 
week;  one  man  set  out  in  a  whale-boat.  Sept.  23d,  excitement  increases.  A 
vessel  advertises  to  sail,  and  immediately  every  berth  is  secured.  Sept  30th, 
real  estate  a  drug  in  the  market.  Business  low;  whole  country  changed. 
Books  at  an  auction  will  not  sell;  shovels  fetch  high  prices.  Common  saluta 
tion,  When  are  you  off?  Oct.  7th,  the  Lahaimci  sails  with  40  passengers. 
Honolulu  to  sail  the  9th,  and  every  berth  engaged.  Heavy  freight  $40  per 
ton;  cabin  passage  $100,  steerage  $80,  deck  $40.  Oct.  21st,  27  vessels,  ag 
gregating  a  tonnage  of  3,128,  have  left  Honolulu  since  the  gold  discovery, 
carrying  300  Europeans,  besides  many  natives.  The  Islands  suffer  in  conse 
quence.  Oct.  28th,  natives  returning,  some  with  $500.  Five  vessels  to  sail 
with  15  to  40  passengers  each.  The  Sandwich  Island  News  of  Aug.  17th 
states  that  upward  of  1,000  pickaxes  had  been  exported  from  Honolulu.  The 
excitement  continued  in  1849,  when,  according  to  Placer  Times,  June  2,  1849, 
nine  schooners  and  brigs,  and  a  score  of  smaller  craft,  were  fitting  out  for 
Cal.  The  Friend,  vii.  21,  viii.  23,  speaks  of  more  than  one  party  of  sailors 
absconding  in  small  craft. 

3  In  the  Willamette  about  that  time,  loading  with  flour,  was  a  S.  F.  vessel, 
the  Honolulu,  whose  master  knew  of  it,  but  kept  it  to  himself  until  his  cargo 
was  secured.  In  searching  the  files  current  of  the  Hawaiian  journals,  I  find 
among  the  departures  for  the  north  the  following:  June  8th,  the  American  brig 
Eveline,  Goodwin  master,  for  Oregon,  too  early  for  definite  information;  June 
20th,  Russian  bark  Prince  Menshikoff,  Lindenberg,  for  Sitka;  July  5th,  Ameri 
can  bark  Mary,  Knox  master,  for  Kamchatka;  and  July  15th,  H.  B.  M.  brig 
Pandora,  destination  unknown,  and  English  brig  Mary  Dare,  Scarborough 
master,  for  the  Columbia  River.  It  was  undoubtedly  by  this  ship  that  the 
news  was  brought,  and  the  fact  of  her  clearance  for  the  Columbia  River  did 
not  prevent  her  first  visiting  Kisqually.  Mr  Burnett  is  probably  mistaken 
in  saying  that  he  heard  of  it  in  July;  as  that,  according  to  his  own  statement, 
would  allow  but  a  fortnight  for  the  transmission  of  the  news  from  the  Islands 
to  the  Willamette  River — not  impossible,  but  highly  improbable.  See  Hist. 
Oregon,  vol.  i.  chap,  xxxiv.,  this  series;  Crawford's  Nar.,  MS.,  166;  Victor's 
River  of  the  West,  483-5;  Californian,  Sept.  2,  1848. 

4 Estimated  white  population  of  Oregon,  midsummer,  1848,  10,000.  'I 
think  that  at  least  two  thirds  of  the  population  of  Oregon  capable  of  bearing 
arms  left  for  Cal.  in  the  summer  and  fall  of  1848.'  Burnett's  Rec.,  MS.,  i.  325. 
A  letter  from  L.  W.  Boggs  to  his  brother-in-law,  Boon,  in  Oregon,  carried 
weight  and  determined  many.  By  the  end  of  the  year,  says  the  Oregon  Spec 
tator,  'almost  the  entire  male  and  a  part  of  the  female  population  of  Oregon 
has  gone  gold-digging  in  California. '  Gov.  Abernethy,  writing  to  Col.  Ma 
son  Sept.  18th,  said  that  not  less  than  3,000  men  had  left  the  Willamette 
Valley  for  Cal.  Arch.  Cal.,  Unbound  Docs,  MS.,  141.  Star  and  CaL,  Dec.  9, 
1848,  assumes  that  about  2,000  arrived  in  1848.  One  of  the  first  parties  to 
set  out— the  first,  indeed  with  vehicles,  and  preceded  only  by  smaller  com- 


Mexico,  particularly  in  her  northern  part,  though 
crushed  by  the  late  war,  still  shared  the  distemper. 
"The  mania  that  pervades  the  whole  country,  our 
camp  included/'  writes  an  army  officer,  "is  beyond 
all  description  or  credulity.  The  whole  state  of  So- 
nora  is  on  the  move,  large  parties  are  passing  us  in 
gangs  daily,  and  say  they  have  not  yet  started." 
Indeed,  but  for  national  indolence  and  intervening 
deserts,  the  movement  might  have  far  surpassed  the 
4,000  which  left  before  the  spring  of  1849.6 

panics  with  pack-animals — consisted  of  150  men,  with  50  wagons  and  ox-teams, 
a  supply  of  provisions  for  six  months,  and  a  full  assortment  of  tools  and  im 
plements.  This  expedition  was  organized  at  Oregon  City,  early  in  Sept.,  by 
Peter  H.  Burnett,  afterward  gov.  of  Cal.  It  followed  the  Applegate  route 
eastward  toward  Klamath  Lake,  thence  along  Lassen's  trail  from  Pit  River, 
entering  the  Sac.  Valley  near  the  mouth  of  Feather  River,  and  reaching  the 
mines  in  Nov.  This  was  the  general  direction;  though  as  usual  on  such  occa 
sions,  the  party  differed  in  opinion  as  to  the  route  to  be  followed,  and  divided 
before  the  end  of  their  journey.  Burnett,  Recollections,  MS.,  i.  323-70,  gives 
a  detailed  account  of  the  trip.  Gen.  Palmer,  Wagon  Trains,  MS.,  43,  and 
A.  L.  Lovejoy,  Portland,  MS.,  27-8,  who  were  also  prominent  members  of 
the  expedition,  give  briefer  narratives.  The  points  of  difference  are,  that 
according  to  Burnett  the  expedition  was  organized  in  the  beginning  of  Sept. 
and  struck  south  at  Klamath  Lake,  while  Palmer  says  that,  starting  in  July, 
the  party  reached  Goose  Lake  before  a  southern  course  was  taken.  One 
family  accompanied  the  train.  Tom.  McKay  acted  as  guide.  Barnes*  Or. 
and  Cal.,  MS.,  11.  Another  large  party  left  Oregon  City  in  Sept.  on  board 
the  brig  Henry,  and  reached  S.  F.  the  same  month,  consequently  in  advance 
of  the  land  expedition.  Taylors  Oregonians,  MS.,  1-2.  Both  of  these  early 
companies  were  soon  followed  by  others.  'In  1848  [the  month  is  not  given], 
the  mining  engineer  in  the  Russian  Colony,  Doroshin,  was  sent  to  Cal.  with 
a  number  of  men  to  open  a  gold  mine,  if  possible,  in  the  placer  regions.  In 
three  months  he  obtained  12  Ibs,  but  did  not  continue  the  work,  as  he  feared 
that  his  men  would  run  away.'  Oolovnin,  Voyage,  in  Materialln,  pt  ii.  Doug 
las  was  on  board  the  Mary  Dare,  the  vessel  which  brought  the  information 
from  the  Island,  but  gave  it  little  attention  until  he  saw  the  people  of  the 
north  rapidly  sinking  southward,  when  he  began  to  fear  for  his  men.  Some 
of  them  did  leave,  but  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company  was  a  difficult  association 
to  get  away  from.  Finlayson,  Hist.  V.  I.,  MS.,  30,  44,  tells  the  oft-repeated 
story  of  deserted  vessels^  and  other  abandonment  of  duty,  which  forced  him 
to  draw  for  seamen  and  laborers  more  largely  on  the  natives.  Anderson, 
Northwest  Coast,  MS.,  27,  37,  first  saw  an  account  of  the  discovery  '  in  a  pri 
vate  letter  to  Mr  Douglas,  who  had  just  returned  from  a  trip  to  the  Sandwich 

bCoutts*  Diary,  MS.,  113.  And  the  captain  goes  on  to  say,  in  a  strain  ob 
viously  exaggerated:  'Naked  and  shirt-tailed  Indians  and  Mexicans,  or  Cal 
if  ornians,  go  and  return  in  15  or  20  days  with  over  a  pound  of  pure  gold  each 
per  day,  and  say  they  had  bad  luck  and  left.'  Velasco,  Son.,  289-91,  writes, 
'Sin  temor  de  equivocacion,'  5,000  or  6,000  persons  left  Sonora  between  Oct. 
1848  and  March  1849.  Yet  he  reduces  this  to  4,000,  whereof  one  third  re 
mained  in  Cal.  In  Sonorense,  Mar.  2,  23,  28,  30,  Apr.  18,  May  11,  the  exodus 
for  Jan.  to  Feb.  1849  is  placed  at  1,000,  and  700  were  expected  to  pass 
through  from  other  states.  During  the  spring  of  1850,  5,893  left,  taking 
14,000  animals.  Id.,  Apr.  26,  1850.  Up  to  Nov.  1849  over 4,000  left.  Pinart^ 
HIST.  CAL.,  VOL.  VI.  8 


The  news  wafted  across  the  continent  upon  the 
tongues  of  devout  Mormons,  and  by  the  Fourgeaud 
messenger,  was  quickly  followed  by  confirmatory  ver 
sions  in  letters,  and  by  travellers  and  government 
couriers.6  The  first  official  notice  of  the  discovery 
was  sent  by  Larkin  on  June  1st,  and  received  at 
Washington  in  the  middle  of  September.7  At  the 
same  time  further  despatches,  dated  a  month  later, 
were  brought  in  by  Lieutenant  Beale  via  Mexico.8 

Some  of  these  appeared  in  the  New  York  Herald 
and  other  journals,  together  with  other  less  author 
itative  statements;  but  the  first  to  create  general 
attention  was  an  article  in  the  Baltimore  Sun  of  Sep 
tember  20th;  after  which  all  the  editors  vied  with 
each  other  in  distributing  the  news,  exaggerated  and 
garnished  according  to  their  respective  fancies  and 
love  of  the  marvellous.9  Such  cumulative  accounts, 

Coll.,  MS.,  iv.  174,  no.  1035;  U.  S.  Oov.  Docs,  31st  cong.  2d  sess.,  H.  Ex. 
Doc.  i.,  pt  ii.  77.  Diary  of  two  parties,  in  Soc.  Mex.  Geog.,  BoL,  xi.  126-34; 
Hayes'  Diary,  MS.,  1-7,  82-100.  Gov.  Gandara  sought  in  vain  to  check  the 
exodus  by  warning  the  people  that  Mexicans  were  maletreated  in  Cal. ,  etc.,  Feb.  2,  21,  Oct.  26,  1849.  A  letter  from  San  Jose",  Lower  Cal., 
tells  of  closed  houses  and  families  consisting  only  of  women  and  children. 
The  first  caravan  left  in  Oct.  Many  went  by  sea. 

6  There  was  a  Mr  Gray  from  Virginia  at  Sutter's  Fort,  the  16th  of  April, 
1848,  who  had  purchased  for  himself  and  associates  a  silver  mine  in  the  San 
Jose  Valley.     Sutter  presented  to  him  specimens  of  the  gold,  with  which  he 
started  eastward   across   the   mountains.      So   Sntter   enters   in   his  diary. 
Rogers  begins  a  letter  to  Larkin  Sept.  14th,  'Since  I  wrote  you  by  the  gov 
ernment   messenger,  and  in  duplicate  by  the  Isthmus' — which  shows  how 
letters  were  then  sent.  Larkin's  Docs,  MS.,  vi.  177.     No  mention  is  herein 
made  of  the  receipt  of  the  intelligence  of  the  gold  discovery.     Sherman, 
Mem.,  i.  47,  gives  no  date  when  he  says  of  Kit  Carson,  who  had  carried 
occasional  mails,  '  He  remained  at  Los  Angeles  some  months,  and  was  then 
sent  back  to  the  U.  S.  with  despatches. ' 

7  Larkin's  Docs,  MS.,  vi.  185.     This  letter  of  Larkin,  Childs,  through 
whom  his  correspondence  passed,  answered  the  27th  of  Sept.,  sending  his 
reply  by  Mr  Parrott,  by  way  of  Vera  Cruz  and  Mazatlan. 

8  He  had  left  Monterey  about  July  1st  for  La  Paz  in  the  flag-ship  Ohio, 
carrying  letters  from  Larkin  of  June  28th  and  July  1st  to  Buchanan  and 
Com.  Jones,  the  latter  sending  his  on  to  the  sec.  of  the  navy  with  a  note  of 
July  28th.     All  these  letters  were  printed  by  government,  and  accompanied 
the  president's  message  of  Dec.  5th.     I  have  referred  elsewhere  to  the  over 
land  express  which  was  despatched  by  way  of  Salt  Lake  in  April  1848,  chiefly 
for  carrying  a  newspaper  edition  on  the  resources  of  California.     G.  M. 
Evans'  erroneous  account  of  this  mail  in  the  Oregon  Bulletin  has  been  widely 
copied.     Instance   the   Mendocino  Democrat,   Feb.   1,   1872,  and  the   Lake 
County  Bee,  March  8,  1873.  Crosby's  Events  in  Cal,  MS.,  2-3. 

'The  N.  Y.  Journal  of  Commerce  some  time  after  published  a  communi 
cation  dated  Monterey  29th  of  August,  characteristic  of  the  reports  which 


reechoed  throughout  the  country,  could  not  fail  in 
their  effect;  and  when  in  the  midst  of  the  growing 
excitement,  in  November  or  December,  one  more 
special  messenger  arrived,  in  the  person  of  Lieuten 
ant  Loeser,  with  official  confirmation  from  Governor 
Mason,  embodied  in  the  president's  message  of  De 
cember  5th  to  congress,  and  with  tangible  evidence  in 
the  shape  of  a  box  filled  with  gold-dust,  placed  on 
exhibition  at  the  war  office,  delirium  seized  upon  the 

now  began  to  circulate.  'At  present, '  the  writer  remarks,  speaking  of  gold- 
finding  in  California,  'the  people  are  running  over  the  country  and  picking  it 
out  of  the  earth  here  and  there,  just  as  1,000  hogs,  let  loose  in  a  forest,  would 
root  up  ground-nuts.  Some  get  eight  or  ten  ounces  a  day,  and  the  least  active 
one  or  two.  They  make  the  most  who  employ  the  wild  Indians  to  hunt  it  for 
them.  There  is  one  man  who  has  sixty  Indians  in  his  employ;  his  profits  are 
a  dollar  a  minute.  The  wild  Indians  know  nothing  of  its  value,  and  wonder 
what  the  pale-faces  want  to  do  with  it;  they  will  give  an  ounce  of  it  for  the 
same  weight  of  coined  silver,  or  a  thimbleful  of  glass  beads,  or  a  glass  of 
grog.  And  white  men  themselves  often  give  an  ounce  of  it,  which  is  worth 
at  our  mint  $18  or  more,  for  a  bottle  of  brandy,  a  bottle  of  soda  powders,  or 
a  plug  of  tobacco.  As  to  the  quantity  which  the  diggers  get,  take  a  few 
facts  as  evidence.  I  know  seven  men  who  worked  seven  weeks  and  two  days, 
Sundays  excepted,  on  Feather  River;  they  employed  on  an  average  fifty 
Indians,  and  got  out  in  these  seven  weeks  and  two  days  275  pounds  of  pure 

C1 1.  I  know  the  men,  and  have  seen  the  gold;  so  stick  a  pin  there.  I 
w  ten  other  men  who  worked  ten  days  in  company,  employed  no  Indians, 
and  averaged  in  these  ten  days  $1,500  each;  so  stick  another  pin  there.  I 
know  another  man  who  got  out  of  a  basin  in  a  rock,  not  larger  than  a  wash 
bowl,  2£  pounds  of  gold  in  fifteen  minutes;  so  stick  another  pin  there!  No 
one  of  these  statements  would  I  believe,  did  I  not  know  the  men  personally, 
and  know  them  to  be  plain,  matter-of-fact  men — men  who  open  a  vein  of  gold 
just  as  coolly  as  you  would  a  potato-hill.'  'Your  letter  and  those  of  others,' 
writes  Childs  from  Washington,  Sept.  27th,  to  Larkin,  'have  been  running 
through  the  papers  all  over  the  country,  creating  wonder  and  amazement  in 
every  mind.'  Larkin's  Docs,  MS.,  vi.  185. 

™L.  Loeser,  lieutenant  third  artillery,  was  chosen  to  carry  the  report  of 
Mason's  own  observations,  conveyed  in  a  letter  dated  Aug.  17th,  together 
with  specimens  of  gold-dust  purchased  at  $10  an  ounce  by  the  quartermaster 
under  sanction  of  the  acting  governor,  with  money  from  the  civil  fund. 
Sherman,  Mem.,  i.  58,  says  'an  oyster-can  full;'  Mason,  Reveres  Tour,  242, 
'a  tea-caddy  containing  230  oz.,  15  dwts,  9  gr.  of  gold.'  'Small  chest  called 
a  caddy,  containing  about  $3,000  worth  of  gold  in  lumps  and  scales,'  says  the 
Washington  Union,  after  inspection.  Niks'  Reg.,  Ixxiv.  336.  To  Payta,  Peru, 
the  messenger  proceeded  in  the  ship  Lambayecana,  chartered  for  the  purpose 
from  its  master  and  owner,  Henry  D.  Cooke,  since  governor  of  the  district  of 
Columbia  and  sailing  from  Monterey  the  30th  of  Aug.  At  Payta,  Loeser  took 
the  English  steamer  to  Panama,  crossed  the  Isthmus  in  Oct.,  proceeded  to 
Kingston,  Jamaica,  and  thence  by  sailing  vessel  to  New  Orleans,  where  he  tele 
graphed  his  arrival  to  the  war  department.  On  the  24th  of  November,  about 
which  time  he  reached  N.  0.,  the  Commercial  Times  of  that  city  semi-offi- 
cially  confirmed  the  rumors,  claiming  to  have  done  so  on  the  authority  of 
Loeser.  S.  H.  Willey,  Personal  Memoranda,  MS.,  20-1,  a  passenger  by  the 
falcon,  thinks  it  was  on  Friday,  Dec.  14th,  that  he  first  heard  the  news,  and 


The  report  of  Colonel  Mason,  as  indorsed  by  the 
president,  was  published,  either  at  length  or  in  sub 
stance,  in  the  principal  newspapers  throughout  the 
world.11  From  this  time  the  interest  in  California 
and  her  gold  became  all-absorbing,  creating  a  rest 
lessness  which  finally  poured  a  human  tide  into  San 
Francisco  Bay,  and  sent  hundreds  of  caravans  over 
the  plains  and  mountains. 

The  political  condition  gave  impulse  to  the  move 
ment,  for  men's  minds  were  unsettled  everywhere:  in 

that  Loeser  was  there  at  the  time.  'I  saw  Lieut  Loeser,'  he  says,  'and  the 
gold  nuggets  in  his  hand.'  This  is  the  time  the  Falcon  was  at  N.  0.  And 
yet  the  president's  message  accompanied  by  Mason's  report  is  dated  Dec.  5th. 
Obviously  Willey  is  mistaken  in  supposing  Loeser  to  have  arrived  at  N.  O. 
after  the  Falcon's  arrival;  and  to  reconcile  his  statement  at  all,  we  must  hold 
the  messenger  at  N.  0.  exhibiting  his  gold  nuggets  on  the  streets  for  three 
weeks  after  his  arrival,  and  for  ten  days  after  the  information  brought  by  him 
is  sent  by  the  president  to  congress.  The  report  of  Mason  accompanying  the 
president's  message  is  given  in  U.  S.  Gov.  Docs,  30th  cong.  2d  sess.,  H.  Ex. 
Doc.  1,  no.  37,  56-64.  The  president  says:  'It  was  known  that  mines  of  the 
precious  metals  existed  to  a  considerable  extent  in  Cal.  at  the  time  of  its 
acquisition.  Recent  discoveries  render  it  probable  that  these  mines  are  more 
extensive  and  valuable  than  was  anticipated.  The  accounts  of  the  abundance 
of  gold  in  that  territory  are  of  such  an  extraordinary  character  as  would 
scarcely  command  belief  were  they  not  corroborated  by  the  authentic  reports 
of  officers  in  the  public  service,  who  have  visited  the  mineral  district,  and 
derived  the  facts  which  they  detail  from  personal  observation.'  Sherman, 
Mr m. ,  i.  58,  consequently  errs  in  assuming  that  the  report  did  not  arrive  in 
time  for  the  message. 

11  '  We  readily  admit,'  says  the  Washington  Union  the  day  after  Loeser's 
arrival,  '  that  the  account  so  nearly  approached  the  miraculous  that  we  were 
relieved  by  the  evidence  of  our  own  senses  on  the  subject.  The  specimens 
have  all  the  appearance  of  the  native  gold  we  had  seen  from  the  mines  of 
North  Carolina  and  Virginia;  and  we  are  informed  that  the  secretary  will 
send  the  small  chest  of  gold  to  the  mint,  to  be  melted  into  coin  and  bars,  and 
most  of  it  to  be  subsequently  fashioned  into  medals  commemorative  of  the 
heroism  and  valor  of  our  officers.  Several  of  the  other  specimens  he  will  re 
tain  for  the  present  in  the  war  office  as  found  in  Cal. ,  in  the  form  of  lumps, 
scales,  and  sand;  the  last  named  being  of  different  hues,  from  bright  yellow 
to  black,  without  much  appearance  of  gold.  However  sceptical  any  man  may 
have  been,  we  defy  him  to  doubt  that  if  the  quantity  of  such  specimens  as 
these  be  as  great  as  has  been  represented,  the  value  of  the  gold  in  Cal.  must 
be  greater  than  has  been  hitherto  discovered  in  the  old  or  new  continent; 
and  great  as  may  be  the  emigration  to  this  new  El  Dorado,  the  frugal  and 
industrious  will  be  amply  repaid  for  their  enterprise  and  toil. '  On  the  8th 
of  Dec.,  David  Garter,  from  8.  F.,  took  to  the  Phil,  mint  the  first  deposit  of 
gold,  on  which  Director  Patterson  reported  that  it  was  worth  some  cents 
over  $18  an  ounce.  Assays  of  specimens  sent  to  private  persons  gave  similar 
results.  Sherwood's  Cal.;  Pioneer  Arch.,  161-7;  Brooks'  His.  Mcx.  War,  535. 
Garter's  deposit  in  the  Phil,  mint  was  made  the  8th  of  Dec.,  and  that  of  the 
sec.  of  war  on  the  9th.  The  former  consisted  of  1,804.59  ounces,  and  the  latter 
of  228  ounces.  It  averaged  .894  fine.  Letter  of  Patterson  to  Walker,  Dec. 
11,  1848. 


Europe  by  wars  and  revolutions,  which  disturbed  all  the 
regions  from  the  Sicilies  in  the  south  to  Ireland  and 
Denmark  in  the  north ;  in  the  United  States,  by  the  late 
war  with  Mexico,  and  the  consequent  acquisition  of  im 
mense  vacant  and  inviting  territories.  This  especially 
had  given  zest  to  the  spirit  of  adventure  so  long  fos 
tered  in  the  States  by  the  constant  westward  advance 
of  settlements;  and  the  news  from  the  Pacific  served 
really  to  intensify  the  feeling  and  give  it  a  definite  and 
common  direction.  The  country  was  moreover  in  a 
highly  prosperous  condition,  with  an  abundance  of 
money,  which  had  attracted  a  large  immigration,  and 
disbanded  armies  from  Mexico  had  cast  adrift  a  host 
of  men  without  fixed  aim,  to  whom  a  far  less  potent 
incentive  than  the  present  would  have  been  all-suffi 
cient.  And  so  from  Maine  to  Texas  the  noise  of 
preparation  for  travel  was  heard  in  every  town.  The 
name  of  California  was  in  every  mouth;  it  was  the 
current  theme  for  conversation  and  song,  for  plays 
and  sermons.  Every  scrap  of  information  concerning 
the  country  was  eagerly  devoured.  Old  works  that 
touched  upon  it,  or  even  upon  the  regions  adjoining, 
were  dragged  from  dusty  hiding-places,  and  eager 
purchase  made  of  guide-books  from  the  busy  pen  of 
cabinet  travellers.12  Old,  staid,  conservative  men  and 

12  Among  the  publications  of  the  hour  were:  California,  and  the,  Way  to 
Get  there;  with  the  Official  Documents  Relating  to  the  Gold  Region.  By  J. 
Ely  Sherwood,  New  York,  1848.  This  for  the  outside  title.  The  second  title 
says  California,  her  Wealth  and  Resources;  with  Many  Interesting  Facts 
respecting  the  Climate  and  People.  Following  a  letter  dated  Sutter's  Fort, 
Aug.  11,  1848,  giving  the  expei'iences  of  a  digger,  are  a  few  pages  smattering 
of  Mexican  life.  Then  come  Larkin's  letters  to  Buchanan,  and  Mason's 
report,  everywhere  printed.  'All  that  portion  of  the  president's  message 
iext  given;  after  which  we  have  a  'Description 

which  relates  to  California'  is  next  given; 

of  the  Gold  Region,'  in  which  there  is  no  description  whatever,  a  letter  of 
Walter  Colton,  extracts  from  the  N.  Y.  Journal  of  Commerce  and  Sun,  fur 
ther  correspondence  and  description,  and  the  memorial  of  Aspinwall,  Stephens, 
and  Chauncey  to  congress  on  a  proposed  Pacific  railway.  On  the  last  page  of 
the  cover  are  printed  from  the  N.  Y.  Herald  '  Practical  Suggestions  to  Persons 
about  to  Cross  the  Isthmus  of  Panama.'  The  whole  comprises  an  8vo  pam 

phlet  of  40  pages,  exclusive  of  the  cover.  The  following  year  the  work  assumes 
a  12mo  form  of  98  pages  in  a  paper  cover,  and  is  called  The  Pock't-Gidde  to 
California;  A  Sea  and  Land  Route- Book,  Containing  a  Futi  Description  of  the 
EL  Dorado,  its  Agricultural  Resources,  Commercial  Advantages,  and  Mineral 
Wealth;  including  a  Chapter  on  Gold  Formations;  with  the  Congr?x*ional  Map, 
and  the  Various  Routes  and  Distances  to  the  Gold  Regions.  To  Which  is  Added 


women  caught  the  infection,  despite  press  and  pulpit 
warnings.  After  a  parting  knell  of  exhortation  for 
calm  and  contentment,  even  ministers  and  editors 
shelved  their  books  and  papers  to  join  foremost  in 
the  throng.  Hitherto  small  though  sure  profits 
dwindled  into  insignificance  under  the  new  aspect,  and 
the  trader  closed  his  ledger  to  depart ;  and  so  the  toil 
ing  farmer,  whose  mortgage  loomed  above  the  grow 
ing  family,  the  briefless  lawyer,  the  starving  student, 
the  quack,  the  idler,  the  harlot,  the  gambler,  the  hen 
pecked  husband,  the  disgraced;  with  many  earnest, 
enterprising,  honest  men  and  devoted  women.  These 
and  others  turned  their  faces  westward,  resolved  to 
stake  their  all  upon  a  cast;  their  swift  thoughts,  like 
the  arrow  of  Acestes,  taking  fire  as  they  flew.  Stories 
exaggerated  by  inflamed  imaginations  broke  the  calm 
of  a  million  hearts,  and  tore  families  asunder,  leaving 

Practical  Advice  to  Voyagers.     New  York,  J.  E.  Sherwood,  publisher  and 
proprietor;  California,  Berford  &  Co.,  and  C.  W.  Holden,  San  Francisco,  1849. 
This  is  a  work  of  more  pretensions  than  the  first  edition.     The  first  19  pages 
are  geographical,  in  the  compilation  of  which  Bryant  and  others  are  freely 
drawn  from.     Letters  from  Folsom  to  Quartermaster  Jesup,  printed  originally 
in  the  Washington  Globe,  are  added.     Thirty-one  pages  of  advertisements  were 
secured,  which  are  at  once  characteristic  and  interesting,     The  Union  India 
Rubber  Company,  beside  portable  boats  and  wagou-floats,  offers  tents,  blank 
ets,  and  all  kinds  of  clothing.     Californians  are  urged  to  insure  their  lives  and 
have  their  daguerreotypes  taken  before  starting.    Then  there  are  Californian 
houses,  sheet-iron  cottages  of  the  most  substantial  character,  at  three  days' 
notice,  built  in  sections;    'oil-cloth  roofs  at  thirty  cents  per  square  yard;' 
bags,  matches,  boots,  drugs,  guns,  beside  outfits  comprising  every  conceiv 
able  thing   to  wear,  iness   hampers,  and   provisions.     Haven  &  Livingston 
advertise  their  express,  Thomas  Kensett  &  Co.,  and  Wells,  Miller,  &  Provost, 
their  preserved   fresh  provisions;  E.  N.  Kent,  tests  for  gold;  half  a  dozen 
their  gold  washers,  and  fifty  others  fifty  other  things.     By  advertising  U.  S. 
passports,  Alfred   "Wheeler  intimates   that  they  are   necessary.     A.    Zuru- 
atuza,  through  his  agents,  John  Bell  at  Vera  Cruz  and  A.  Patrullo,  New  York, 
gives  notice  of  'the  pleasan test  and  shortest  route  to  California  through  Mex 
ico.'     With  neither  author's  name  nor  date,  but  probably  in  Dec.  1848,  was 
issued  at  Boston,  California  Gold  Regions,  With  a  Fidl  Account  of  its  Mineral 
Resources;  How  to  Get  there  and  What  to  Take;  the  Expense,  the  Time,  and  the 
Various  Routes,  etc.     Anything  at  hand,  printed  letters,  newspaper  articles, 
and  compilations  from  old  books,  were  thrown  in  to  make  up  the  48  pages  of 
this  publication.     Yet  another  book  appeared  in  Dec.  1848,  The  Gold  Regions 
of  California,  etc.,  edited  by  G.  G.  Foster,  80  pages,  8vo,  with  a  map;  the 
fullest  and  most  valuable  eastern  publication  on  Cal.  of  that  year.     Beside 
the  official  reports  so  often  referred  to,  there  is  a  letter  from  A.  Ten  Eyck, 
dated  S.  F.,  Sept.  1st,  and  one  from  C.  Allyn  dated  Monterey,  Sept.   loth. 
Thereare  also  extracts  from  Cal.  and  eastern  newspapers,  and  from  Greenhow, 
Darby,  Wilkes,  Cutts,  Mofras,  Emory,  and  Farnham. 


sorrowing  mothers,  pining  wives,  neglected  children, 
with  poverty  and  sorrow  to  swell  their  anguish;  the 
departed  meanwhile  bent  on  the  struggle  with  fortune, 
faithful  or  faithless;  a  few  to  be  successful,  but  a  far 
greater  number  to  sink  disappointed  into  nameless 

And  still  the  gossips  and  the  prophets  raved,  and 
newspapers  talked  loudly  and  learnedly  of  California 
and  her  gold-fields,  assisting  to  sustain  the  excite 
ment.13  It  is  no  exaggeration  to  say  that,  in  the 
great  seaport  towns  at  least,  the  course  of  ordinary 
business  was  almost  thrown  out  of  its  channels. 
"Bakers  keep  their  ovens  hot,"  breaks  forth  Greeley, 
"night  and  day,  turning  out  immense  quantities  of 
ship-bread  without  supplying  the  demand;  the  pro 
vision  stores  of  all  kinds  are  besieged  by  orders. 
Manufacturers  of  rubber  goods,  rifles,  pistols,  bowie- 
knives,  etc.,  can  scarcely  supply  the  demand."  All 
sorts  of  labor-saving  machines  were  invented  to  facil 
itate  the  separation  of  the  gold  from  gravel  and  soil. 
Patented  machines,  cranks,  pumps,  overshot  wheel 
attachments,  engines,  dredges  for  river-beds,  supposed 
to  be  full  of  gold,  and  even  diving-bells,  were  made 
and  sold.  Everything  needful  in  the  land  of  gold,  or 

«/  O  O  * 

what  sellers  could  make  the  buyers  believe  would  be 
needed,  sold  freely  at  high  prices.  Everything  in  the 
shape  of  hull  and  masts  was  overhauled  and  made 
ready  for  sea.  Steamships,  clippers,  schooners,  and 
brigs  sprang  from  the  stocks  as  if  by  the  magician's 
wand,  and  the  wharves  were  alive  with  busy  workers. 
The  streets  were  thronged  with  hurrying,  bustling  pur 
chasers,  most  of  them  conspicuous  in  travelling  attire 
of  significant  aspect,  rough  loose  coats  and  blanket 
robes  meeting  high  hunting-boots,  and  shaded  by 
huge  felt  hats  of  sombre  color.  A  large  proportion 

13  'It  is  coming — nay,  at  hand,'  cried  Horace  Greeley,  in  the  N.  Y.  Tribune; 
'there  is  no  doubt  of  it.  We  are  on  the  brink  of  the  Age  of  Gold!  We  look 
for  an  addition,  within  the  next  four  years,  equal  to  at  least  one  thousand 
millions  of  dollars  to  the  general  aggregate  of  gold  iu  circulation  and  use 
throughout  the  world.  This  is  almost  inevitable. 


bore  the  stamp  of  countrymen  or  villagers,  who  had 
formed  parties  of  from  ten  to  over  a  hundred  members, 
the  better  to  face  the  perils  magnified  by  distance,  arid 
to  assist  one  another  in  the  common  object.  The  im 
mediate  purpose,  however,  was  to  combine  for  the 
purchase  of  machinery  and  outfit,  and  for  reduced 
passage  rates.  Indeed,  the  greater  part  of  the  emi 
grants  were  in  associations,  limited  in  number  by 
district  clanship,  or  by  shares  ranging  as  high  as 
$1,000  each,  which  in  such  a  case  implied  the  purchase 
of  the  vessel,  laden  with  wooden  houses  in  sections, 
with  mills  and  other  machinery,  and  with  goods  for 
trade.1*  In  some  instances  the  outfit  was  provided  by 
a  few  men;  perhaps  a  family  stinted  itself  to  send  one 
of  its  members,  often  a  scapegrace  resolved  upon  a 
new  life;  or  money  was  contributed  by  more  cautious 
stayers-at-home  for  proxies,  on  condition  of  heavy  re 
payment,  or  labor,  or  shares  in  profits;15  but  as  a  rule, 
obligations  broke  under  the  strain  of  varied  attractions 
on  the  scene,  and  debtors  were  lost  in  the  throng  of 
the  mines.16  The  associations  were  too  unwieldy  and 

14  Among  the  many  instances  of  such  associations  is  the  one  entitled  Ken- 
nebec  Trading  and  Mining  Co.,  which  sailed  in  the  Obed  Mitchel  from  N. 
Bedford  on  March  31,  1849,  arrived  at  S.  F.  on  Sept.  17th,  laid  out  the  town 
of  New  York,  placed  the  steamer  Gov.  Dana  for  river  traffic,  opened  a  saw 
mill,  etc.  Boynton's  MS.,  1  et  seq.  The  Mattapan  and  Cal.  Trading  and 
Mining  Co.,  of  42  members,  left  Boston  in  the  Ann.  Strout's  recollections,  in 
S.  F.  Post,  July  14,  1877;  the  Linda  Mining  and  Dredging  Assoc.  started  in 
the  bark  Linda,  with  a  steamboat  and  a  dredger,  the  latter  for  scooping  up 
the  metal.  Other  notable  companies  were  those  by  the  Edward  Everett,  of 
152  members,  which  left  Boston  in  Dec.  1848;  Robert  Browne,  which  left  New- 
York  in  Feb.  '49,  with  200  passengers;  the  Matthewson  party,  from  New 
York,  in  March;  the  Warren  party  of  30  members,  from  New  York,  in  Feb.; 
the  Mary  Jane  party.  One  party  of  seven  left  Nantucket  in  Dec.  1 849,  in 
the  Mary  and  Emma,  of  only  44  tons,  and  arrived  safely  after  149  days. 
Others  were  known  by  the  names  of  the  town  or  county  in  which  they  organ 
ized,  as  Utica,  Albany,  Buffalo.  See  details  of  outfit,  passage,  etc.,  in  War 
ren's  Dust  and  Foam,  12  et  seq.;  Matthewsorfs  Statement,  MS.,  1-3;  Cerruti's 
Ramblings,  MS.,  94,  and  later  MS.  references;  also  recollections  printed  in 
different  journals,  as  San  Jos6  Pioneer,  Dec.  8,  1877,  etc.;  Sac.  Record- Union, 
July  7,  1875,  Nov.  26,  1878,  etc.;  Shasta  Courier,  March  25,  1865,  March  16, 
1867;  Stockton  Indep.,  Nov.  1,  1873;  Alta  Cal.,  passim;  Placer  Times,  Apr. 
28,  1849;  Brown's  Statement,  MS.,  1;  Hunt's  Merch.  Mag.,  xxx.  55-64,  xxxii. 
354-5;  Larkirfs  Doc.,  vi.  185,  198,  etc. 

15 Crosby,  Events  Cal.,  MS.,  26,  was  deputed  by  others  to  report  on  the 

16  Large  sums  were  recklessly  advanced  to  individuals  as  well  as  societies 
by  rich  men,  stricken  by  the  fever,  but  declining  to  go  in  person.  Probably 


too  hastily  organized,  with  little  knowledge  of  mem 
bers  and  requirements,  the  best  men  being  most  eager 
to  escape  the  yoke. 

The  overland  route  was  the  first  to  suggest  itself, 
in  accordance  with  American  pioneer  usage,  but  this 
could  not  be  attempted  during  winter.  The  sea  was 
always  open,  and  presented,  moreover,  a  presumably 
swifter  course,  with  less  preparations  for  outfit.  The 
way  round  Cape  Horn  was  well  understood  by  the 
coast-dwellers,  who  formed  the  pioneers  in  this  move- 
merit,  familiar  as  they  were  with  the  trading  vessels 
and  whalers  following  that  circuit,  along  the  path 
opened  by  Magellan,  and  linked  to  the  explorations  of 
Cortes  and  Cabrillo.  There  were  also  the  short-cuts 
across  Panamd,  Nicaragua,  and  Mexico,  now  becoming 
familiar  to  the  people  of  the  United  States  through 
the  agitation  for  easy  access  to  the  newly  acquired 
possessions  on  the  Pacific.  For  all  these  vessels 
offered  themselves;  and  in  November  1848  the  move 
ment  began  with  the  departure  of  several  vessels.  In 
December  it  had  attained  tho  dimensions  of  a  rush. 
From  New  York,  Boston,  Salem,  Norfolk,  Philadel 
phia,  and  Baltimore,  between  the  14th  of  December, 
1848,  and  the  18th  of  January,  1849,  departed  61 
sailing  vessels,  averaging  50  passengers  each,  to  say 
nothing  of  those  sent  from  Charleston,  New  Orleans, 
and  other  ports.  Sixty  ships  were  announced  to  sail 
from  New  York  in  the  month  of  February  1849,  70 
from  Philadelphia  and  Boston,  and  11  from  New  Bed 
ford.  The  hegira  continued  throughout  the  }rear,  and 
during  the  winter  of  1849  and  the  spring  of  1850 

nine  out  of  ten  of  such  loans  were  lost,  less  through  actual  dishonesty  than 
through  the  extravagant  habits  among  miners,  who  improvidently  reckoned 
on  a  future  rich  find  for  such  demands.  Few  of  the  companies  held  together, 
even  till  Cal.  was  reached;  none  that  I  have  ever  heard  of  accomplished  any 
thing,  as  an  original  body,  in  the  mines  or  towns.  If  they  did  not  quarrel  on 
the  way  and  separate  at  any  cost,  as  was  generally  the  case,  they  found  on 
reaching  Cal.  that  a  company  had  no  place  there.  Every  miner  was  for  him 
self,  and  so  it  was  with  mechanics  and  laborers,  who,  if  willing  to  work  for 
wages,  received  such  dazzling  offers  as  to  upset  all  previous  calculations  and 
indents.  See  Ashley's  Journey,  MS.,  223,  etc. 


250  vessels  sailed  for  California  from  the  eastern  ports 
of  the  United  States  alone,  45  of  which  arrived  at  San 
Francisco  in  one  day.17 

In  order  to  supply  this  demand,  shipping  was  di 
verted  from  every  other  branch  of  service,  greatly  to 
the  disarrangement  of  trade,  the  whaling  business 
especially  being  neglected  for  the  new  catch.18  Old 
condemned  hulks  were  once  more  drawn  from  their  re 
tirement,  anything,  in  fact,  that  could  float,19  and  fitted 
with  temporary  decks  to  contain  tiers  of  open  berths, 
with  tables  and  luggage-stands  in  the  centre.20  The 
provisions  were  equally  bad,  leading  in  many  cases  to 
intense  suffering  and  loss  by  scurvy,21  thirst,  and 
starvation;  but  unscrupulous  speculators  cared  for 
nothing  save  to  reap  the  ready  harvest;  and  to  secure 
passengers  they  hesitated  at  no  falsehood.  Although 
aware  that  the  prospect  of  obtaining  transportation 
from  Panamd  and  other  Pacific  ports  was  very  doubt 
ful,  they  gave  freely  the  assurance  of  ample  connec 
tions,  and  induced  thousands  to  proceed  to  these  half- 

17  Nouvelles  Annales  des  Voyages,  cxx.  362-5;  Larkin's  Docs,  MS.,  vi.  195; 
Polynesian,  Apr.  14,  1849;  Sttilman'a  Golden  Fleece,  19-27.  Two  of  the  Nov. 
departures  arrived  at  S.  F.  in  April  1849;  in  June  came  11,  in  July  40,  in 
August  43,  in  Sept.  66,  after  which  the  number  fell  off,  giving  a  total  of  233 
from  American  ports  for  nine  months;  316  arrived  from  other  ports,  or  549  in 
all.  Placer  Times,  ii.  no.  62;  N.  Y.  Herald,  Apr.  13,  1850;  Barstow's  Stat., 
MS.,  1;  Barnes*  Or.  and  CaL,  MS.,  20;  Dean's  Stat.,  MS.,  1;  Moore's  Pio. 
Exp.,  MS.,  1;  Winans'  Stat.,  MS.,  1-3;  Neall's  Stat.,  MS.;  Wheatoris  Stat., 
MS.,  2-3;  Doolittle's  Stat.,  MS.,  21;  Boltonvs  U.  S.,  88;  Fay's  Stat.,  MS.,  1; 
Picture  Pion.  Times,  MS.,  145-7.  The  journals  above  quoted,  notably  Alto, 
Gal.  and  Record-Union;  also  West  Coast  Signal,  Apr.  15,  1874;  Santa  Cruz 
Times,  Feb.  19,  1870;  Humboldt  Times,  Mar.  7,  1874;  Antioch  Ledger,  Dec. 
24,  1870,  together  with  allusions  to  voyage.  The  length  of  passage  averaged 
about  four  months.  Later  it  was  made  more  than  once  by  the  Flying  Cloud 
from  New  York  in  89£  days.  See  Alta  Col.,  July  12,  1865;  S.  F.  Directory, 
1852,  10,  etc. 

18 By  the  withdrawal  of  71  ships.  Alta  CaL,  June  6,  1850. 

19 Barnes,  in  his  Or.  and  CaL,  MS.,  mentions  an  old  Mexican  war  trans 
port  steamer,  which  in  the  winter  of  1849-50  used  to  ply  between  New  Orleans 
and  Chagres,  and  which  was  so  rotten  and  leaky  that  she  wriggled  and  twisted 
like  a  willow  basket. 

™Borthwick's  MS.,  3-5.  One  vessel  of  only  44  tons  left  Nantucket; 
another  passed  through  the  lakes,  Hunt's  Mag.,  xxi.  585;  a  third  was  an  ex- 
slaver.,  Bluxomz's  MS.,  1. 

21  Ryan,  Pers.  Adven.,  ii.  273-5,  relates  that  the  Brooklyn  set  out  with  an 
insufficient  supply,  and  although  offered  $500,  the  captain  refused  to  touch  at 
any  of  the  South  American  ports  for  additions.  At  Rio  de  Janeiro  several 
received  welcome  from  Dom  Pedro.  Alta  CaL,  Mar.  29,  1876. 


way  stations,  only  to  leave  them  there  stranded.  A 
brief  period  of  futile  waiting  sufficed  to  exhaust  the 
slender  means  of  many,  cutting  off  even  retreat,  and 
hundreds  were  swept  away  by  the  deadly  climate.22 
Expostulations  met  with  sneers  or  maltreatment,  for 
redress  was  hopeless.  The  victims  were  ready  enough 
to  enter  the  trap,  and  hastened  away  by  the  cheapest 
route,  regardless  of  money  or  other  means  to  proceed 
farther,  trusting  blindly,  wildly,  to  chance. 

The  cost  of  passage  served  to  restrict  the  propor 
tion  of  the  vagabond  element;  so  that  the  majority  of 
the  emigrants  belonged  to  the  respectable  class,  with 
a  sprinkle  of  educated  and  professional  men,  and  mem 
bers  of  influential  families,  although  embracing  many 
characterless  persons  who  fell  before  temptation,  or 
entered  the  pool  of  schemers  and  political  vultures.23 
The  distance  and  the  prospective  toil  and  danger 
again  held  back  the  older  and  less  robust,  singling 
out  the  young  and  hardy,  so  that  in  many  respects  the 
flower  of  the  population  departed.  The  intention  of 
most  being  to  return,  few  women  were  exposed  to  the 
hardships  of  these  early  voyages.  The  coast-dwellers 
predominated,  influenced,  as  may  be  supposed,  by  the 
water  voyage,  for  the  interior  and  western  people 
preferred  to  await  the  opening  of  the  overland  route, 
for  which  they  could  so  much  better  provide  them 

Although  the  Americans  maintained  the  ascend 
ancy  in  numbers,  owing  to  readier  access  to  the  field 

22  See  protest  in  Panamd  Star,  Feb.  24,  1849. 

23  White,  Pion.  Times,  MS.,  190-5,  estimates  the  idle  loungers  at  less  than 
ten  per  cent,  and  'gentlemen'  and  politicians  at  the  same  proportion.     The 
N.  Y.  Tribune,  Jan.  26,  1849,  assumes  that  the  cost  of  outfit  kept  back  the 
rowdies.     The  Annals  of  S.  F.,  665,  etc.,  is  undoubtedly  wrong  in  ascribing 
low  character,  morals,  and  standing  to  a  large"  proportion,  although  it  is  natural 
that  men  left  without  the  elevating  influence  of  a  sufficiently  large  number  of 
women  should  have  yielded  at  times  to  a  somewhat  reckless  life.     Willey,  in 
his  Per.  Mem.,  MS.,  25,  thus  speaks  of  the  New  Orleans  emigration  of  1848: 
'It  was  only  the  class  most  loose  of  foot  who  could  leave  on  so  short  a  notice. 
It  was  largely  such  as  frequented  the  gambling-saloons  under  the  St  Charles, 
and  could  leave  one  day  as  well  as  another.'  See  also  Crosby'*  Event*,  MS., 
2-3;  Van  Allen,  Stat.,  MS.,  31;  Larking  Doc.,  MS.,  vi.  185,  198,  251. 

24 New  Yorkers  predominated  'twice  told  probably.'  Ryckman's  MS'.,  20; 
Nantucket  alone  lost  about  400  men.  Placer  Times,  Dec.  1,  1849. 


by  different  routes,  and  to  which  they  were  entitled 
by  right  of  possession,  the  stream  of  migration  from 
foreign  countries  was  great,  a  current  coming  to 
New  York  and  adjoining  ports  to  join  the  flow  from 
there.  The  governments  of  Europe  became  alarmed, 
actuated  as  they  were  by  jealousy  of  the  growing 
republic,  with  its  prospective  increase  of  wealth,  to  the 
confounding  of  finance,  perhaps  to  culminate  in  a 
world's  crisis.25  Before  the  middle  of  January  1849  no 
less  than  five  different  Californian  trading  and  mining 
companies  were  registered  at  London,  with  an  aggre 
gate  capital  of  £1,275,000;  and  scarcely  was  there 
a  European  port  which  had  not  at  this  time  some 
vessel  fitting  out  for  California.26 

Among  Asiatic  nations,  the  most  severely  affected 
by  this  western  malady  were  the  Chinese.  With  so 
much  of  the  gambling  element  in  their  disposition,  so 
much  of  ambition,  they  turned  over  the  tidings  in 
their  minds  with  feverish  impatience,  whilst  their 
neighbors,  the  Japanese,  heard  of  the  gold  discovery 
with  stolid  indifference.27  Yet  farther  east  by  way 
of  west,  to  that  paradise  of  gamblers,  Manila,  went 

25  Russia,  France,  and  Holland  seriously  considered  the  monetary  question, 
and  the  latter  went  so  far  as  to  bring  in  force  an  obsolete  law,  which  enabled 
her  to  sell,  at  the  highest  price,  all  the  gold  in  the  bank  of  Amsterdam,  so 
that  she  might  lay  in  a  stock  of  silver. 

26 'Du  Havre  et  de  Bordeaux,  de  plusieurs  ports  espagnols,  hollandais, 
allemands,  et  de  presque  tous  les  principaux  ports  de  la  Grande-Bretagne,  on 
announce  des  departs  pour  San  Francisco.  Un  batiment  a  vapeur  doit  meme 
partir  de  Londres  et  doubler  le  cap  Horn.  Revue  des  Deux  Monde*,  Feb.  1, 
1849;  Polynesian,  May  12,  1849.  Says  the  London  Times:  ''Thereare  at  this 
moment  two  great  waves  of  population  following  toward  the  setting  sun  over 
this  globe.  The  one  is  that  mighty  tide  of  human  beings  which,  this  year,  be 
yond  all  former  parallel,  is  flowing  from  Ireland,  Great  Britain,  Germany,  and 
some  other  parts  of  Europe,  in  one  compact  and  unbroken  stream,  to  the  United 
States.  The  other,  which  may  almost  be  described  as  urged  on  by  the  former,  is 
that  which  that  furious  impulse  aurl  sacra  f amen  is  attracting  from  comfortable 
homes  to  an  almost  desert  shore.'  Several  hundred  Mormons  left  Swansea 
in  Feb.  1849  for  Cal.  Placer  Times,  Oct.  13,  1849.  Concerning  the  French 
migration,  see  8.  F.  Picayune,  Nov.  27,  1850;  Cal.  Courier,  Nov.  28,  Dec.  3, 
1850.  Many  banished  army  officers  came.  Hungarian  exiles  in  Iowa  pro 
posed  to  come  in  1850.  8.  D.  Arch.,  367;  Polynesian,  vii.  131. 

27 An  English  steamer  arrived  from  Canton  direct  as  early  as  Oct.  1849. 
On  Feb.  1,  1849,  there  were  54  Chinamen  in  Cal.,  and  by  Jan.  1,  1850,  the 
number  had  swollen  to  791,  and  was  rapidly  rising,  till  it  passed  4,000  by  the 
end  of  1850.  Alia  Cal.,  May  10,  1852;  William*'  Stat.,  12.  In  BrookJ  App. 
.y  115,  the  number  for  1849-50  is  reduced  to  770  by  their  consul. 

FROM  FAR  AWAY.  125 

the  news,  and  for  a  time  even  the  government  lotter 
ies  were  forgotten.28  And  the  gold  offered  by  ship 
masters  to  the  merchants  of  the  Asiatic  coast  raised 
still  higher  the  fever  in  the  veins  of  both  natives  and 

Not  less  affected  were  the  inhabitants  of  the  Mar 
quesas  Islands.  Those  of  the  French  colony  who 
were  free  made  immediate  departure,  and  were  quickly 
followed  by  the  military,  leaving  the  governor  alone 
to  represent  the  government.  On  reaching  Australia 
the  news  was  eagerly  circulated  and  embellished  by 
ship-masters.  The  streets  of  the  chief  cities  were 
placarded,  "Gold!  Gold!  in  California!"  and  soon  it 
became  difficult  to  secure  berths  on  departing  vessels.33 
And  so  in  Peru  and  Chile,  where  the  California  reve 
lation  was  unfolded  as  earty  as  September  1848  by 
Colonel  Mason's  messenger,  on  his  way  to  Washing 
ton,  bringing  a  large  influx  in  advance  of  the  dominant 
United  States  emigration.31  Such  were  the  world 
currents  evoked  by  the  ripple  at  Coloma. 

™Zamacois,  Hist.  Mex.,  x.  1141.  Says  Coleman,  The  Round  Trip,  28, 
who  happened  to  be  at  Manila  in  the  spring  of  1848  when  the  Rhone  arrived 
from  S.  F.,  'She  brought  the  news  of  the  gold  discoveries,  and  fired  the  colony 
with  the  same  intense  desire  that  inflamed  the  Spaniards  of  the  16th  century.' 

29  Leese  was  about  to  sail  for  Manila  in  March,  and  from  there  take  in  a 
cargo  of  rice  for  Canton.  Sherman's  Mem.,  i.  65. 

30  Barry's  Ups  and  Downs,  92-3,  and  Larkin's  Docs,  MS.,  vii.  80.     'Eight 
vessels  have  left  that  hot-bed  of  roguery— Sidney, '  Placer   Times,  June  2, 
1849,  and  with  them  came  a  mass  of  delectable  'Sidney  coves.'     The  press 
sought  naturally  to  counteract  the  excitement  and  make  the  most  of  some 
local  gold  finds.   See  Melbourne  Herald,  Feb.  6,  7,  10,  1849. 

31  Vessels  sent  to  Valparaiso  for  flour  brought  back  large  numbers  to  Cal. 
Findla'sStat.,  MS.,  7;  King's  Kept,  in  U.  S.  Gov.  Docs,  31st cong.  1st  sess.,  H. 
Ex.  Doc.  59,  26.     The  arrival  of  the  Lambayecana  of  Colombia  with  gold-dust 
caused  no  small  excitement  in  Payta,  and  the  news  of  the  discovery  soon 
spread;  on  the  15th  of  January,  1849,  when  the  California  arrived  at  Panama, 
she  had  some  75  Peruvians  on  board.    W'illey's  Per.  Mem.,  MS.,  60.      'It  is 
reported  here  that  California  is  all  gold,'  writes  Atherton  from  Valparaiso, 
Sept.  10th,  to  Larkin.     'Probably  a  little  glitter  has  blinded  them.     The 
gold-dust  received  per  brig  J.  R.  S.  sold  for  22  reales  per  castellano  of  21  qui- 
lates  fine,  this  having  exceeded  the  standard  about  1  £  quilates,  netted  23  reales 

?er  castellano,  being  nearly  $17.50  per  ounce.'  Larkin'x  Docs,  MS.,  vi.  173. 
n  Aug.  Larkin  entered  into  partnership  with  Job  F.  Dye,  who  about  the 
middle  of  Sept.  sailed  M  ith  the  schooner  Mary  down  the  Mexican  coast,  tak 
ing  with  him  placer  gold. 




SINCE  the  voyage  of  the  Argonauts  there  had  been 
no  such  search  for  a  golden  fleece  as  this  which  now 
commanded  the  attention  of  the  world.  And  as  the 
adventures  of  Jason's  crew  were  the  first  of  the  kind 
of  which  we  have  any  record,  so  the  present  impetuous 
move  was  destined  to  be  the  last.  Our  planet  has 
become  reduced  to  a  oneness,  every  part  being  daily 
known  to  the  inhabitants  of  every  other  part.  There 
is  no  longer  a  far-away  earth's  end  where  lies  Colchis 
close-girded  by  the  all-infolding  ocean.  The  course  of 
our  latter-day  gold-fleece  seekers  was  much  longer 
than  Jason's  antipodal  voyage;  indeed,  it  was  the 
longest  possible  to  be  performed  on  this  planet, 
leading  as  it  did  through  a  wide  range  of  lands 
and  climes,  from  snow-clad  shores  into  tropic  lati 
tudes,  and  onward  through  antarctic  dreariness  into 
spring  and  summer  lands.  In  the  adventures  of 
the  new  Argonauts  the  Symplegades  reappeared  in 
the  gloomy  clefts  of  Magellan  Strait;  many  a  Tiphys 
relaxes  the  helm,  and  many  dragons'  teeth  are  sown. 
Even  the  ills  and  dangers  that  beset  Ulysses'  travels, 
in  sensual  circean  appetites,  lotus-eating  indulgence, 



Calypso  grottos  and  sirens,  may  be  added  to  the  list 
without  tilling  it. 

"The  wise  man  knows  nothing  worth  worshipping 
except  wealth/'  said  the  Cyclops  to  Ulysses,  while 
preparing  to  eat  him,  and  it  appears  that  as  many 
hold  the  same  faith  now  as  in  Homeric  times.  At 
night  our  Argonauts  dream  of  gold;  the  morning  sun 
rises  golden-hued  to  saffron  all  nature.  Gold  floats  in 
their  bacon  breakfast  and  bean  dinner. — which  is  the 
kind  of  fare  their  gods  generally  provide  for  them; 
and  throughout  the  bedraggled  remnant  of  their  years 
they  go  about  like  men  demented,  walking  the  earth 
as  if  bitten  by  gold-bugs  and  their  blood  thereby  in 
fected  by  the  poison;  fingering,  kicking,  and  biting 
everything  that  by  any  possibility  may  prove  to  be 
gold.  They  are  no  less  victims  of  their  infatuation 
than  was  Hylas,  or  Ethan  Brand,  who  sacrificed  his 
humanity  to  seek  the  unpardonable  sin.  Each  has 
his  castle  in  Spain,  and  the  way  to  it  lies  through  the 
Golden  Gate,  into  the  Valley  of  California. 

The  migration  was  greatly  facilitated  by  the  estab 
lishment  of  the  Pacific  Mail  Steamship  Company 
just  before  the  gold  discovery,  encouraged  by  the 
anticipation  of  new  interests  on  the  Pacific  coast  ter 
ritory.1  Congress  fully  appreciated  the  importance 

*One  J.  M.  Shively,  postmaster  at  Astoria,  Oregon,  while  on  a  visit  to 
Washington  in  1845,  is  said  to  have  been  the  first  to  call  the  attention  of  the 
U.  S.  govt  to  the  advisability  of  establishing  a  line  of  mail-steamers  between 
Panamd  and  Astoria.  His  suggestion  does  not  seem  to  have  had  much 
weight,  however.  Later  in  the  same  year  the  threatening  attitude  of  Great 
Britain  in  the  north-west  caused  President  Polk  to  lay  before  congress  a  plan 
for  rapidly  increasing  the  population  of  Oregon  by  emigration  via  the  Isthmus, 
using  sailing  vessels.  J.  M.  "Woodward,  a  shipping  merchant  of  New  York, 
assisted  in  preparing  details  for  the  plan.  His  investigations  led  him  to 
believe  that  a  line  of  mail-steamers  might  profitably  be  established  between 
Panamfi  and  Oregon,  and  a  number  of  merchants  and  capitalists  were  readily 
induced  to  join  in  forming  a  private  company.  The  most  complete  history  of 
the  Pac.  Mail  S.  S.  Co.  during  the  first  five  years  of  its  existence  is  contained 
in  the  following  government  document:  Mails,  Reports  of  the  Secretary  of  the 
Navy  and  the  Postma*ter-<jene ral,  Communicating,  in  Compliance  with  a  Ref 
lation  of  the  Senate,  Information  in  Relation  to  the  Contract*  for  the  Trans 
portation  of  the  Mull*  by  Steamships  between  New  York  and  California,  March 
23,  1852,  32d  cong.  1st  sess.,  Sen.  Ex.  Doc.  50.  An  excellent  chapter  on 
the  formation  of  the  company  is  also  to  be  found  in  First  Steamship  Pioneers, 
17-33;  see  also  Larkin's  Doc.,  MS.,  vi.  173. 


of  rapid  communication  with  that  section,  and  by 
virtue  of  an  act  passed  on  the  3d  of  March,  1847,  the 
secretary  of  the  navy  advertised  for  bids  to  carry  the 
United  States  mails  by  one  line  of  steamers  between 
New  York  and  Chagres,  and  by  another  line  between 
Panama  and  Astoria*  The  contract  for  the  Atlantic 
side  called  for  five  steamships  of  1,500  tons  burden 
each,  all  strongly  constructed  and  easily  convertible 
into  war  steamers,  for  which  purpose  the  government 
might  at  any  time  purchase  them  by  appraisement. 
Their  route  was  to  be  "from  New  York  to  New  Or 
leans  twice  a  month  and  back,  touching  at  Charles 
ton,  if  practicable,  Savannah,  and  Habana;  and  from 
Habana  to  Chagres  arid  back  twice  a  month."  For 
the  Pacific  line  only  three  vessels  were  required,  on 
similar  terms,  and  these  of  a  smaller  size,  two  of  not 
less  than  1,000,  and  the  other  of  600,  tons  burden. 
These  were  to  carry  the  mail  "  from  Panamd  to  As 
toria,  or  to  such  other  port  as  the  secretary  of  the 
navy  may  select,  in  the  territory  of  Oregon,  once  a 
month  each  way,  so  as  to  connect  with  the  mail  from 
Habana  to  Chagres  across  the  Isthmus." 

The  contract  for  the  Atlantic  side  was  awarded  on 
the  20th  of  April,  1847,  to  Albert  G.  Sloo,  who  on  the 
17th  of  August  transferred  it  to  George  Law,  M.  O. 
Roberts,  and  B.  R  Mcllvaine  of  New  York.  The 
annual  compensation  allowed  by  the  government  was 
$290,000;  the  first  two  ships  were  to  be  completed 
by  the  first  of  October,  1848.  The  contract  for  the 
Pacific  side  was  given  to  a  speculator  named  Arnold 
Harris,  and  by  him  assigned  to  William  H.  Aspin- 
wall,  the  annual  subsidy  for  ten  years  being  $199, 000. 2 

2  Woodward  bid  $300,000,  with  side-wheel  steamers,  and  one  of  his  asso 
ciates  proposed  to  do  the  work  for  half  that  sum  with  propellers.  The  last 
offer  was  accepted,  but  the  bidder  withdrew,  and  Harris  received  the  award, 
after  arranging  to  assign  it  to  Woodward,  it  is  claimed.  He  looked  round 
for  a  better  bargain,  however,  and  on  Nov.  19,  1847,  the  contract  was  trans 
ferred  to  Aspinwall,  despite  the  protests  of  Woodward,  who  'was  beaten 
in  a  long  and  expensive  series  of  litigations.'  First  Steamship  Pioneers,  26. 
The  same  authority  states  that  Aspinwall  was  induced  to  take  the  contract 
by  Armstrong,  a  relative  of  Harris,  and  U.  S.  consul  at  Liverpool, 


Owing  to  the  greater  prominence  meanwhile  acquired 
by  California,  the  terminus  for  this  line  was  placed  at 
San  Francisco,  whence  Oregon  mails  were  to  be  trans 
mitted  by  sailing  vessels.3 

Through  Aspiri wall's  exertions,  the  Pacific  Mail 
Steamship  Company  was  incorporated  on  the  12th  of 
April,  1848,  with  a  capital  stock  of  $500,000.4  The 
three  side-wheel  steamers  called  for  by  the  contract 
were  built  with  despatch,  but  at  the  same  time  with 
care  and  of  the  best  materials,  as  was  shown  by  their 
long  service. 

On  October  6,  1848,  the  first  of  these  vessels,  the 
California,  sailed  from  New  York,  and  was  followed 
in  the  two  succeeding  months  by  the  Oregon  and  the 
Panama?  When  the  California  left  New  York  the 
discovery  of  gold  was  known  in  the  States  only  by  un 
confirmed  rumors,  which  had  attracted  little  attention, 
so  that  she  carried  no  passengers  for  California.6  On 

3  '  To  the  mouth  of  the  Kalumet  river,  in  lieu  of  Astoria,  with  the  reserved 
right  of  the  navy  department  to  require  the  steamers  to  go  to  Astoria,  the 
straits  of  Fuca,  or  any  other  point  to  be  selected  on  the  coast  of  Oregon.  In 
consideration  of  which  the  steamers  are  to  touch,  free  of  charge,  at  the  three 
points  occupied  by  the  U.  S.  squadron,  or  at  such  ports  on  the  west  coast, 
south  of  Oregon,  as  may  be  required  by  the  navy  dept.'  Modification  of 
June  10,  1848.  In  1850  steam  connection  was  required  with  Oregon.  U.  »S\ 
Gov.  Doc.y  ubi  sup.,  p.  5-6,  36;  see  also  Hist.  Oregon,  i.,  this  series. 

*  Gardiner  Howland,  Heni-y  Chauncey,  and  William  H.  Aspinwall  were 
the  incorporators,  and  the  last  mentioned  was  elected  the  first  president.  In 
1850  the  capital  stock  was  raised  to  |2, 000,000,  in  1853  to  $4,000,000,  in  1865 
to  $10,000,000,  in  1866  to  $20,000,000,  and  in  1872  it  was  reduced  to  $10,- 

5Their  measurements  were  1,050,  i,099,  and  1,087  tons  respectively.  The 
Panama  should  have  been  second,  but  was  delayed.  The  Atlantic  company 
proved  less  prompt.  For  several  years  they  provided  only  three  accepted 
steamers,  Georgia,  Ohio,  and  Illinois,  and  the  inferior  and  temporary  Falcon, 
besides  other  aid;  yet  full  subsidy  was  allowed.  The  captains  were  to  be 
U.  S.  naval  officers,  not  below  the  grade  of  lieut,  each  assisted  by  four  passed 
midshipmen.  U.  S.  Gov.  Doc.,  ubi  sup. 

6  And  only  four  or  five  for  way-ports.  Rio  de  Janeiro  was  reached  Nov. 
2d,  and  the  straits  of  Magellan  were  safely  threaded  between  Dec.  7th  and 
12th.  The  California  was  the  third  steamship  to  pass  through  them,  the  pre 
vious  ones  being,  in  1840,  the  Peru  and  the  Chili,  each  of  700  tons,  built 
by  an  English  company  for  trade  between  the  west  coast  of  South  America 
and  England.  Under  the  command  of  William  Wheelwright  they  made  the 
passage  of  the  straits  in  thirty  hours  sailing  time.  According  to  the  journal 
kept  by  A.  B.  Stout,  the  California'*  sailing  time  in  the  straits  was  41^  hours, 
and  the  time  lost  in  anchoring  during  fogs  and  high  winds  108  hours.  First 
Steamship  Pioneers,  111-12.  This  journal  is,  I  believe,  the  only  account  ex 
tant  of  the  California's  voyage  as  far  as  Panama.  A  stoppage  of  50  hours 
HIST.  CAL.,  VOL.  VI.  9 


reaching  Callao,  December  29th,  the  gold  fever  was 
encountered,  and  great  was  the  rush  for  berths,  al 
though  but  fifty  could  be  provided  with  state-rooms, 
owing  to  the  understanding  at  New  York  that  the 
steamer  should  take  no  passengers  before  reaching 
Panama".7  It  was  well  for  the  Isthmus  of  Panama, 
which  fairly  swarmed  with  gold-seekers,  some  1,500 
in  number,  all  clamorous  for,  and  many  of  them  en 
titled  to,  a  passage  on  the  California? 

This  mass  of  humanity  had  been  emptied  from  the 
fleet  of  sailing  and  steam  vessels  despatched  during  the 
nine  preceding  weeks  for  the  mouth  of  the  Chagres 
River,  which  was  then  the  north-side  harbor  for  the 
Isthmus.  Hence  the  people  proceeded  up  the  river 
to  Cruces  in  bongos,  or  dug-outs,  poled  by  naked  ne 
groes,  as  lazy  and  vicious  as  they  were  stalwart.9 
Owing  to  the  heavy  rains  which  added  to  the  discom 
fort  and  danger,  the  eagerness  to  proceed  was  great, 
and  the  means  of  conveyance  proved  wholly  inadequate 
to  the  sudden  and  enormous  influx,  the  natives  being, 
moreover,  alarmed  at  first  by  the  invasion.  The  in- 

was  made  at  Valparaiso,  and  on  the  illness  of  the  commander,  Cleaveland 
Forbes,  John  Marshall,  then  commanding  a  ship  en  route  for  China,  was  in 
duced  to  act  as  first  officer  in  lieu  of  Duryee,  who  was  appointed  to  the  com 
mand  of  Marshall's  ship.  Id.,  29-30,  118.  A  few  days  later  Forbes  resigned. 
First  Steamship  Pioneers,  Edited  by  a  Committee  of  the  Association,  is  the 
title  of  a  quarto  of  393  pages,  printed  in  San  Francisco  for  the  25th  anni 
versary  of  the  association  in  1874.  From  the  profuse  puffery  with  which  the 
volume  opens,  the  reader  is  led  to  suspect  that  the  printing,  picture,  and  wine 
bills  of  the  society  were  not  large  that  year.  Following  this  is  a  chapter 
entitled  'Steam  Navigation  in  the  Pacific,'  conspicuous  only  for  the  absence 
of  information  or  ideas.  Chapter  II.  on  the  P.  M.  S.  S.  Co.  is  better,  and  the 
occurrences  of  the  voyage  by  the  passengers  on  the  first  steamship  to  Cal.,  of 
which  the  main  part  of  the  book  is  composed,  no  less  than  the  biographical 
notices  toward  the  end,  are  interesting  and  valuable. 

7  At  Payta,  accordingly,  where  equal  excitement  prevailed,  no  more  pas 
sengers  appear  to  have  been  taken. 

8  Six  sailing  vessels  and  two  steamers  are  mentioned  among  recent  arrivals 
with  passengers  from  the  U.   S.  See  Panama  Star,  Feb.   24,  1849;  Pioneer 
Arch.,  5,  21-4;  Robinson's  Stat.,  MS.,  23-4. 

9The  boats  were  usually  from  15  to  25  feet  long,  dug  from  a  single  mahog 
any  log,  provided  with  palm-leaf  awning,  and  poled  by  4  or  6  men  at  the 
average  rate  of  a  mile  an  hour.  Often  the  only  shred  of  clothing  worn  by  the 
captain  was  a  straw  hat.  Warren's  Dust  and  Foam,  153-6;  Henxhaw1*  Events, 
MS.,  1;  Gregory's  Guide,  1-9.  A  small  steamer,  Orns,  had  been  placed  on 
the  river,  but  could  proceed  only  a  short  distance,  and  the  expense  of  transit, 
estimated  at  $10  or  $15,  rose  to  $50  and  more.  Protests  in  Panama  Star, 
Feb.  24,  1849;  Dunbar's  Romance,  55-89. 



experience  and  imprudent  indulgences  of  the  new 
comers  gave  full  scope  to  the  malarial  germs  in  the 
swamps  around.  Cholera  broke  out  in  a  malignant 
form,  following  the  hurrying  crowds  up  the  river,  and 
striking  down  victims  by  the  score.  Such  was  the 
death-rate  at  Cruces,  the  head  of  navigation,  that  the 
second  current  of  emigrants  stopped  at  Gorgona  in 


affright,  thence  to  hasten  away  from  the  smitten  river 
course.10  Again  they  were  checked  by  the  scarcity 
of  pack-animals,  by  which  the  overland  transit  was 

"References  to  the  suffering  victims,  and  causes,  in  Roach's  Stat.,  MS., 
1;  First  Steamship  Pioneers,  84-5;  Fremont's  Amer.  Travel,  66-8;  Sutton's 
Early  Exper.,  MS.,  1;  Hawley's  Stat.,  MS.,  2-3;  NealVs  Stat.,  MS.,  22-4; 
Advent.  Captain's  Wife,  18. 


accomplished.  Numbers  abandoned  their  luggage  and 
merchandise,  or  left  them  to  the  care  of  agents  to 
be  irretrievably  lost  in  the  confusion,  and  hurried  to 
Panama^  on  foot.  From  Cruces  led  an  ancient  paved 
trail,  now  dilapidated  and  rendered  dangerous  along 
many  of  the  step-cut  descents  and  hill-side  shelves. 
From  Gorgona  the  passenger  had  to  make  his  way  as 
best  he  could.11 

Panamd  was  a  place  of  special  attraction  to  these 
wayfarers,  as  the  oldest  European  city  on  the  Ameri 
can  continent,12  and  for  centuries  the  great  entrepot 
for  Spanish  trade  with  Pacific  South  America  and  the 
Orient,  a  position  which  also  drew  upon  it  much  misery 
in  the  form  of  piratic  onslaughts  with  sword  and  torch. 
With  the  decline  of  Iberian  supremacy  it  fell  into 
lethargy,  to  be  roused  to  fresh  activity  by  the  new 
current  of  transit.  It  lies  conspicuous,  before  sea  or 
mountain  approach,  upon  its  tiny  peninsula  which  juts 
into  the  calm  bay  dotted  with  leafy  isles.  The  houses 
rise  as  a  rule  to  the  dignity  of  two  stories  of  stone  or 
adobe,  with  long  lines  of  balconies  and  sheltering  ve 
randas,  dingy  and  sleepy  of  aspect,  and  topped  here 
and  there  by  tile-roofed  towers,  guarding  within  spas 
modic  bells,  marked  without  by  time-encroaching 
mosses  and  creepers.  Along  the  shady  streets  lounge 
a  bizarre  mixture  of  every  conceivable  race:  Africans 
shining  in  unconstrained  simplicity  of  nature;  bronzed 
aborigines  in  tangled  hair  and  gaudy  shreds;  women 
of  the  people  in  red  and  yellow;  women  of  the  upper 
class  in  dazzling  white  or  sombre  black;  caballeros  in 
broad-rimmed  Panarnd  hats  and  white  pantaloons,  and 
now  and  then  the  broad  Spanish  cloak  beside  the  veil 
ing  mantilla;  while  foreigners  of  the  blond  type  in 
slouched  hats  and  rough  garb  stalk  every  where,  ogling 
and  peering. 

11  Later  rose  frequent  bamboo  stations  and  villages,  with  I  unks  and  ham 
mocks,  and  vile  liquors.     An  earlier  account  of  the  route  is  given  in  MoUien'it 
Travel*,  409-13.     Little,  Stat.,  MS.,  1-4  had  brought  supplies  for  two  years. 

12  The  oldest  standing  city,  if  we  count  from  the  time  of  its  foundation  on 
an  adjoining  site. 

AT  PANAMA.  133 

The  number  and  strength  of  the  emigrants,  armed 
and  resolute,  placed  the  town  practically  in  their  hands; 
but  good  order  prevailed,  the  few  unruly  spirits  roused 
by  the  cup  being  generally  controlled  by  their  com 
rades.13  Compelled  by  lack  of  vessels  to  wait,  they 
settled  down  into  communities,  which  quickly  imparted 
a  bustling  air  to  the  place,  as  gay  as  deferred  hope, 
dawning  misery,  and  lurking  epidemics  permitted; 
with  American  hotels,  flaring  business  signs,  drinking- 
saloons  alive  with  discordant  song  and  revelling,14  and 
with  the  characteristic  newspaper,  the  Panama  Star, 
then  founded  and  still  surviving  as  the  most  impor 
tant  journal  of  Central  America.15 

The  suspense  of  the  Argonauts  was  relieved  on  the 
30th  of  January,  1849,  by  the  arrival  of  the  Califor 
nia,16  to  be  as  quickly  renewed,  since  with  accommo 
dation  for  little  over  100  persons,  the  steamer  could 
not  properly  provide  even  for  those  to  whom  through- 
tickets  had  been  sold,  much  less  for  the  crowd  strug 
gling  to  embark.  After  much  trouble  with  the  exas 
perated  and  now  frantic  men,  over  400  were  received 

73 The  attempt  of  local  authorities  at  arrest  was  generally  frustrated  by 
armed  though  harmless  bluster,  as  Hawley,  Obscrv.,  MS.,  2-3,  relates. 
Nearly  half  the  population  was  foreign  by  February  1849,  two  thirds  of  this 
being  American.  The  number  rose  as  high  as  3,000  during  the  year. 

14 As  described  in  the  Eldorado,  i.  20-7,  of  Taylor,  who  was  himself  an 
Argonaut;  in  Maxsett's  humorous  Experiences,  MS.,  1-10;  Ryan's  Judges  and 
Crim.,  78-9;  Little's  Stat.,  MS..  1-3;  Roach's  Facts,  MS.,  1.  Washington's 
birthday  was  celebrated  with  procession,  volleys,  and  concert.  Panama  Star, 
Feb.  24',  1849. 

15  It  was  started  by  J.  B.  Bidleman  &  Co.  on  Feb.  24,  1849,  as  a  weekly,  at 
one  real  per  copy;  advertisements  $2  per  square,  and  contained  notices  of 
arrivals,  protest,  local  incidents,  etc.;  printers,  Henarie  &  Bochman.     The 
later  Herald  was  incorporated  and  added  to  the  title.     Additional  details  on 
Panama  occurrences  in  Revere1  s  Keel  and  Saddle,  151-4;    Willey's  Peru.  Mem., 
MS.,  58-62;  Sherwood's  Ccd.,  MS.,  27;  Connor's  Early  Col.,  MS.,  1-2;  Loic's 
Observ.,  MS.,  1.     See  also  Jiist.  Cent.  Am.,  iii.,  this  series. 

16  She  had  been  three  weeks  longer  on  the  trip  than  was  expected,  owing 
to  fogs,  etc.     The  first  steamer  of  the  Atlantic  line,  the  provisional  Falcon, 
had  left  New  York  on  Dec.  1st,  before  the  real  excitement  began,  with  the 
president's  message  of  Dec.  5th,  so  that  she  carried  comparatively  few  passen 
gers  from  there,  among  them  four  clergymen  and  some  army  men.     An  account 
of  the  voyage  is  given  in  First  Steamer  Pioneers,  43  et  seq.  See  also  Willey'a 
Pers.  Mem.,  MS.,  1-36;    Williams'  Early  Days,  MS.,  2-3,  both  written  by  pas 
sengers.     At  New  Orleans,  however,  Dec.  12th-18th,  she  encountered  the  gold 
fever  and  was  quickly  crowded  with  over  200  persons,  Gen.  Persifer  F.  Smith, 
the  successor  of  Gov.  Mason,  embarking  with  his  staff.     Chagres  was  reached 
on  Dec.  26th.   U.  S.  Gov.  Doc.,  32d  cong.  1st  sess.,  Sen.  Doc.  50. 


on  board  to  find  room  as  best  they  could.  Many  a  one, 
glad  to  make  his  bed  in  a  coil  of  rope,  paid  a  higher  fare 
than  the  state-room  holder;  for  steerage  tickets  rose  to 
very  high  prices,  even,  it  is  said,  to  $1,000  or  more.17 
Even  worse  was  the  scene  greeting  the  second 
steamer,  the  Oregon,  which  arrived  toward  the  middle 
of  March,18  for  by  that  time  the  crowd  had  doubled. 
Again  a  struggle  for  tickets  at  any  price  and  under 
any  condition.  About  500  were  received,  all  chafing 
with  anxiety  lest  they  should  arrive  too  late  for  the 
gold  scramble,  and  prepared  to  sleep  in  the  rigging 
rather  than  miss  the  passage.19  And  so  with  the 
Panama,  which  followed.20 

^Little's  Slat.,  MS.,  1-4;  Henshaw,  Stat.,  MS.,  1,  says  the  agents  fixed 
steerage  tickets  at  $1,000.  A  certain  number  were  sold  by  lot,  with  much 
trickery.  They  also  attempted  to  exclude  tickets  sold  at  New  York  after  a 
certain  date,  but  were  awed  into  compliance.  Loiu's  Stat.,  MS. ;  Deane's  MS., 
1;  Roach's  Stat.,  MS.,  2.  Holders  of  tickets  were  offered  heavy  sums  for 
them.  Moore's  RecoL,  MS.,  2.  For  arrangements  on  board,  see  Vanderbilt, 
Miscel.  Stat.,  MS.,  32-3.  Authorities  differ  somewhat  as  to  the  number  of 
passengers.  About  400,  say  the  Panama  Star,  Feb.  24,  1849;  Alta  CaL,  Feb. 
29,  1872;  Bulletin,  Feb.  28,  1865;  Oakland  Transcript,  March  1,  1873;  the 
Oakland  Alameda  County  Gazette,  March  8,  1873,  says  440;  Crosby,  Stat., 
MS.,  10-14,  has  about  450:  while  Stout,  in  his  journal,  says  nearly  500.  In 
First  Steamship  Pioneers,  201-360,  a  brief  biographical  sketch  is  given  to  each 
of  the  following  passengers  of  the  California  on  her  first  trip,  many  of  whom 
have  subsequently  been  more  or  less  identified  with  the  interests  of  the  state: 
H.  Whittell,  born  in  Ireland  in  1812;  L.  Brooke,  Maryland,  1819;  A.  M.  Van 
Nostrand,  N.  Y.,  1816;  De  WittC.  Thompson,  Mass.,  1826;  S.  Haley,  N.  Y., 
1816;  John  Kelley,  Scotland,  1818;  S.  Woodbridge,  Conn.,  1813;  P.  Ord, 
Maryland,  1816;  J.  McDorgall;  A.  A.  Porter,  N.  Y.,  1824;  B.  F.  Butterfield, 
N.  H.,  1817;  P.  Carter,  Scotland,  1808;  M.  Fallon,  Ireland,  1815;  W.  G. 
Davis,  Va,  1804;  C.  M.  Radcliff,  Scotland,  1818;  R,  W.  Heath,  Md,  1823; 
Wm  Van  Vorhees,  Tenn.,  1820;  W.  P.  Waters,  Wash.,  D.  C.,  1826;  R.  B.  Ord, 
Wash.,  1827;  S.  H.  Willey,  N.  H.,  1821;  S.  F.  Blasdell,  N.  Y.,  1824;  H.  F. 
Williams,  Va,  1828;  0.  C.  Wheeler,  N.  Y.,  1816;  E.  L.  Morgan,  Pa,  1824; 
R.  M.  Price,  N.  Y.,  1818. 

18A  delay  caused  by  the  temporary  disabling  of  the  Panama,  which  should 
have  been  the  second  steamer.  The  Oregon  had  left  New  York  in  the  latter 
part  of  Dec.  and  made  a  quick  trip  without  halting  in  Magellan  Straits,  though 
touching  at  Valparaiso,  Callao,  and  Payta.  R.  H.  Pearson  commanded. 
Sutton,  Exper.,  MS.,  1,  criticises  his  ability;  he  nearly  wrecked  the  vessel. 
Little's  Stat.,  MS.,  3,  agrees. 

19 She  stayed  at  Panama  March  13th-17th.  Among  the  passengers  sur 
viving  in  California  in  1863  were  John  H.  Redington,  Dr  McMillan,  A.  J. 
McCabe,  Mrs  Petit  and  daughter,  Thomas  E.  Lindenberger,  John  McComb,  Ed 
ward  Connor,  8.  H.  Brodie,  William  Carey  Jones,  Smyth  Clark,  M.  S.  Martin, 
John  M.  Birdsall,  Stephen  Franklin,  Major  Daniels,  F.  Vassault,  G.  K.  Fitch, 
William  Cummings,  Mme.  Swift,  Mr  Tuttle,  Judge  Aldrich,  James  Tobin, 
Fielding  Brown,  James  Johnson,  Dr  Martin.  Some  of  these  had  come  by  the 
second  steamer  of  the  Atlantic  mail  line,  the  Isthmus,  which  arrived  at 
Chagres  Jan.  16th. 

20  Which  arrived  at  PanamA  in  the  early  part  of  May,  leaving  on  the  18th. 


As  one  chance  after  another  slipped  away,  there 
were  for  those  remaining  an  abundance  of  time  and 
food  for  reflection  over  the  frauds  perpetrated  upon 
them  by  villanous  ship-owners  and  agents,  to  say 
nothing  of  their  own  folly.  The  long  delay  sufficed 
to  melt  the  scanty  means  of  a  large  number,  prevent 
ing  thern  from  taking  advantages  of  subsequent  op 
portunities;  and  so  to  many  this  isthmian  bar  to  the 
Indies  proved  a  barrier  as  insurmountable  as  to  the 
early  searchers  for  the  strait.  Fortunately  for  the  mass 
a  few  sailing  vessels  had  casually  arrived  at  Panamd, 
and  a  few  more  were  called  from  adjoining  points; 
but  these  were  quickly  bought  by  parties  or  filled 
with  miscellaneous  passengers,21  and  still  there  was  no 
lessening  of  the  crowd.  In  their  hunger  for  gold,  and 

There  had  been  a  reprehensible  sale  of  tickets  in  excess  of  what  these  steamers 
could  carry;  700  according  to  Connor,  Stat.,  MS.,  1.  Lots  were  drawn  for  steer 
age  places  by  the  holders  of  tickets  on  paying  §100  extra.  D.  D.  Porter,  sub 
sequently  rear  admiral,  commanded,  succeeded  by  Bailey.  Low's  Stat.,  MS.,  2; 
S.  F.  Bulletin,  June  4,  1869;  Altn  Col.,  June  4,  1867;  Burnett's  Hecol.,  MS.,  iL 
40-2;  Deane's  Stat.,  MS.,  1-2;  Barnes'  Or,  and  Col.,  MS.,  26;  Merrill's Stat. , 
MS.,  1.  Among  the  passengers  of  the  Panama  who  subsequently  attained 
distinction  in  California  and  elsewhere,  I  find  mention  of  Gwin  and  Weller, 
both  subsequently  U.  S.  senators  from  Cal.,  and  the  latter  also  gov.  of  the 
state;  D.  D.  Porter,  afterward  admiral;  generals  Emory,  Hooker,  and  Mc- 
Kinstry — to  use  their  later  titles;  T.  Butler  King,  Walter  Colton,  Jewett, 
subsequently  mayor  of  Marysville,  and  Roland,  postmaster  of  Sacramento; 
Hall  McAllister,  Lieut  Derby,  humorist  under  the  nom  de  plume  of  'Phosnix;' 
Treanor,  Brinsmade,  Kerr,  Frey,  John  V.  Plume,  Harris,  P.  A.  Morse,  John 
Brinsley,  Lafayette  Maynard,  H.  B.  Livingstone,  Alfred  De  Witt,  S.  C.  Gray, 
A.  Collins,  and  H.  Beach.  There  were  five  or  six  women,  among  them  Mrs 
Robert  Allen,  wife  quart. -gen.,  Mrs  Alfred  De  Witt,  Mrs  S.  C.  Gray  of 
Benicia,  and  Mrs  Hobson  from  Valparaiso. 

21  One  small  schooner  of  70  tons  was  offered  for  sale  in  28  shares  at  $300 
a  share;  another  worthless  old  hulk  of  50  tons  was  offered  for  $6,000.  False 
representations  had  been  made  by  agents  and  captains  that  there  was  a  Brit 
ish  steam  line  from  Panamd,  and  equally  false  assurances  of  numerous  sailing 
vessels;  but  the  passengers  by  the  Crescent  City  found  only  one  brig  at  Panama, 
and  she  was  filled.  Hawley,  Stat.,  MS.,  2-3.  charges  the  captain  of  this 
steamer  with  drunkenness  and  abuse;  he  had  brought  a  stock  of  fancy  goods, 
which  he  managed  to  get  forwarded  by  dividing  among  passengers  who  had 
less  luggage  than  the  steamer  rules  allowed.  Among  vessels  leaving  after 
the  California,  the  brig  Belfast  of  190  tons  took  76  passengers  at  $100  each 
in  the  middle  of  Feb.  Panamd  Star,  Feb.  24,  1849.  The  Niantic,  of  subse 
quent  lodging-house  fame,  came  soon  after  from  Payta,  spent  three  weeks  in 
fitting  out,  and  took  about  250  persons  at  $150.  McCcllnm'a  Cal.  1 7,  25-6.  The 
Alex,  von  Humboldt  took  more  than  300  in  May.  Sac.  Bee,  Aug.  27,  1874. 
The  Phoenix  carried  60,  and  took  115  days  to  reach  S.  F.;  the  Two  Friend*, 
with  164  persons,  occupied  over  five  months.  Sac.  Rec.,  Sept.  10,  1874.  A  pro 
portion  of  gold-hunters  had  taken  the  route  by  Nicaragua;  see  record  of 
voyage  in  Hitchcock's  Stat.,  MS.,  1-7;  Doolittle's  Stat.,  MS.,  1-21. 


anxiety  to  escape  fevers  and  expenses  on  the  Isth 
mus,  several  parties  thrust  themselves  with  foolhardy 
thoughtlessness  into  log  canoes,  to  follow  the  coast  to 
the  promised  land,  only  to  perish  or  be  driven  back 
after  a  futile  struggle  with  winds  and  currents.22  Yet 
they  were  not  more  unfortunate  than  several  who  had 
trusted  themselves  to  the  rotten  hulks  that  presented 

After  a  prosperous  voyage  of  four  weeks,  prolonged 
by  calls  at  Acapulco  and  San  Bias,  San  Diego  and 
Monterey,24  the  steamer  California  entered  the  bay  of 
San  Francisco  on  February  28,  1849,  a  day  forever 
memorable  in  the  annals  of  the  state.  It  was  a  gala- 
day  at  San  Francisco.  The  town  was  alive  with  winter 
ing  miners.  In  the  bay  were  ships  at  anchor,  gay  with 
bunting,  and  on  shore  nature  was  radiant  in  sunshine 
and  bloom.  The  guns  of  the  Pacific  squadron  opened 
the  welcome  with  a  boom,  which  rolled  over  the 
waters,  breaking  in  successive  verberations  between 
the  circling  hills.  The  blue  line  of  jolly  tars  manning 
the  yards  followed  with  cheers  that  found  their  echo 
in  the  throng  of  spectators  fringing  the  hills.  From 
the  crowded  deck  of  the  steamer  came  loud  response, 
midst  the  flutter  of  handkerchiefs  and  bands  of  music. 
Boats  came  out,  their  occupants  boarding,  and  pouring 
into  strained  ears  the  most  glowing  replies  to  the 
all-absorbing  questions  of  the  new-comers  concerning 
the  mines — assurances  which  put  to  flight  many  of  the 
misgivings  conjured  up  by  leisure  and  reflection;  yet 

225  One  party  of  23  was  passed  far  up  the  coast  by  a  steamer,  a  month  out, 
and  obtained  supplies,  but  they  soon  abandoned  the  trip.  Santa  Cruz  Times, 
Feb.  26,  1870;  Taylor's  Eldorado,  i.  29-30. 

23  It  is  only  necessary  to  instance  the  voyages  of  the  San  Blasena  and  the 
Dolphin,  the  latter  related  in  Still-man's  Golden  Fleece,  327-52,  from  the  MS. 
of  J.  W.  Griffith  and  I.  P.  Crane;  also  in  Quigley'*  Irish  Race,  465-8;  San 
Jo«e  Pioneer,  Dec.  29,  1879,  etc.     Tired  of  the  slow  progress  and  the  prospect 
of  starvation,  a  portion  of  the  passengers  landed  on  the  barren  coast  of  Lower 
California,  and  made  their  way,  under  intense  suffering,  to  their  destination. 
Gordon's  party  sailed  from  Nicaragua  in  a  seven-ton  sloop.   Sufferings  related 
in  Hitchcock's  St«L,  MS.,  1-7. 

24  When  near  here  the  coal  supply  of  the  California  was  reported  exhausted, 
and  spare  spars  had  to  be  used;  the  proposed  landing  to  cut  logs  was  fortu 
nately  obviated  by  the  discovery  of  a  lot  of  coal  under  the  forward  deck. 


better  far  for  thousands  had  they  been  able  to  trans 
late  the  invisible,  arched  in  flaming  letters  across  the 
Golden  Gate,  as  at  the  portal  of  hell,  LASCIATE  OGNI 
SPERANZA,  voi  CH'ENTRATE — all  hope  abandon,  ye  who 
enter  here.  Well  had  it  been  were  Minos  there  telling 
them  to  look  well  how  they  entered  and  in  whom  they 
trusted,25  if,  indeed,  they  did  not  immediately  flee  the 
country  for  their  lives. 

Before  the  passengers  had  fairly  left  the  steamer 
she  was  deserted  by  all  belonging  to  her,  save  an  en 
gineer,26  and  was  consequently  unable  to  start  on  the 
return  trip.  Captain  Pearson  of  the  Oregon,  which 
arrived  on  April  1st,27  observed  a  collusion  between 
the  crew  and  passengers,  and  took  precautions,28  an 
chored  his  vessel  under  the  guns  of  a  man-of-war,  and 
placed  the  most  rebellious  men  under  arrest.  Never 
theless  some  few  slipped  off  in  disguise,  and  others 
by  capturing  the  boat.  He  thereupon  hastened  away, 
April  12th,  with  the  scanty  supply  of  coal  left,  barely 
enough  to  carry  him  to  San  Bias,  where  there  was  a 
deposit.29  The  Oregon  accordingly  carried  back  the 
first  mail,  treasure,  and  passengers.  When  the  Pan 
ama  entered  San  Francisco  Bay  on  June  4th,30  the 

25  The  anniversary  of  the  arrival  has  been  frequently  commemorated  with 
mementos,  as  in  the  volume  First  Steamship  Pioneers.     Sherman  tells  of  ex 
citement  created  at  Monterey,  and  how  he  there  boarded  the  steamer  for  S.  F. 
Mem.,  i.  32,  61-5;  AltaCaL,  Feb.  29,  1872,  June  2,  1874;  Crosby,  Stat.,  MS., 
10-11,  places  the  ships  then  in  the  bay  at  Sauzalito;  not  so  the  S.  F.  Bulletin, 
Feb.  28,  1865;  Alamcda  Co.  Gaz.,  Mar.  8,  1873;  Oakland  Transcript,  Mar.  1, 
1873:  G  win's  Mem.,  MS.,  6-7;  S.  F.  Directory,  1852-3,  10. 

26  The  third  assistant,  F.  Foggin,  who  was  subsequently  rewarded  with  the 
post  of  chief  engineer.     Capt.  Forbes  accordingly  resumed  charge,  and  asked 
Com.  Jones  for  men  to  protect  the  steamer.   Crosby'*  Stat.,  MS.,  12.      Vallejo 
Recorder,  Mar.  14,  1868,  has  it  that  Capt.  Marshall  remained  true. 

27  U.  S.  Gov.  Doc.,  32d  cong.  1st  sess.,  Sen.  Doc.  50;  Manrow's  Vig.  Com., 
MS.,  67;    Willey's  Pers.   Mem.,  MS.,  3;    William*'  Stat,.,  MS.,  7;  Mary*vd(e 
Appeal,  April  3,   1864;  Petaluma  Aryus,  April  4,  1873.     All  agree  on  April 
1,   1849,  but  Hittell,  Hist.  S.  F.,  139,  who  says  March  31.     Concerning  her 
trip,  see  Capt.  Pearson's  speech  at  the  anniversary,  1868,  in  Vallejo  Recorder, 
Mar.  14,  1868. 

28  Especially  after  the  desertion  of  the  carpenter  at  Monterey,  who  swam 
ashore  at  night  at  great  risk. 

29  He  had  70  tons.     The  refractory  sailors  were  kept  in  irons  till  they  sub 
mitted  to  accept  an  increase  of  pay  from  $12  to  §112  a  month.     The  coal-ship 
Superior  arrived  at  S.  F.  some  weeks  later. 

'A(iAlta  Cal,  June  4,  1862,  and  June  4,  1867;  Alameda  Co.  Gazette,  May 
29,  1875;  s.  F.  Bulletin,  June  4,  1869;  Low's  Statement,  MS.,  2.  The  official 



California  had  obtained  coal  and  a  crew,  and  had 
departed  for  Panama".  From  this  time  she  and  the 
other  steamers,  with  occasionally  an  extra  vessel,  made 
their  trips  with  tolerable  regularity.31  Three  regular 
steamers  were  added  to  the  line  by  1851;  and  on 
March  3d  of  this  year  the  postmaster-general  author 
ized  a  semi-monthly  service. 

statement  of  June  8th  appears,  therefore,  wrong  in  this  case.  She  was  short 
of  coal,  like  the  California,  and  had  to  burn  some  of  her  woodwork. 

31  The  following  statement  of  mail  service  will  show  the  order  and  dates  of 
the  trips  of  the  Panamd  steamers  during  1849  and  part  of  1850: 



San  Fran. 


San  Fran. 


California  .    . 
Panama  . 
California  .    . 
Oregon  .... 

Jan.   31,  '19 
Mar.  13,  '49 
May   18,  '49 
May  23,  '49 
June  25,  '49 
July  29,  '49 
Aug.  28,  '49 

Feb.    28,  '49 
Apr.     1,  '49 
JuneS  (4?)  ,'49 
June    17,  49 
July  16,  '49 
Aug.  19,  '49 
Sept.  18,  '49 

California  .     . 
California  .     . 

Apr.  12,  '49 
May     1,  '49 
June  19,  '49 
•July    2,  '49 
Aug.    2,  '49 
Sept.   1,  '4.9 
Oct.     1,  '49 

May     4,  '49 
May    23,  '49 
July  12,  '49 
July  21,  '49 
Aug.  24,  '49 
Sept.  22,  '49 
Oct.    24,  '49 

California  .     . 
Unicorn  (a)     . 
California  .    . 
Unicorn  (a) 
California  .    . 
Tennessee  (a) 

Sept.  17,  '49 
Oct.     1,  '49 
Oct.  10,  '49 
Nov.  10,  '49 
Dec.     6,  '49 
Jan.     1,  '50 
Jan.   1'2,  T>0 
Feb.    5,  '50 
Mar.    2,  '50 
Mar.  24    50 
Apr.     1,   50 

Oct.      9,  '49 
Oct.    31,  '49 
Oct.    31,  '49 
Dec.     2,  '49 
Dec.   28,  '49 
Jan.    18,  '50(6) 
Feb.     8,  '50(6) 
Feb.  22,  '50 
Mar.  26,  '50 
Apr.   13,  '60(6) 
Apr.   22,  '50 

California  .    . 
Unicorn  ...   . 
California  .    . 
California  .    . 
Tennessee  .  .. 

Nov.    2,  '49 
Nov.  15,  '49 
Dec.     1,  '49 
Jan.     1,  '50 
Jan.  15,  '50 
Feb.     1,  '50 
Mar.    1,  '50 
Apr.     1,  '50 
Apr.  21,  '50 
May     1,  '50 
June    1,  '50 

Nov.  22.  '49 
Dec.     4,  '49 
Dec.   28,  '49 
Jan.   23,  '50 
Feb.     4,  '50 
Feb.   23,  '50 
Mar.  20,  '50 
Apr.    23,  '50 
May    11,  '50 
May    21,  '50 
June  22,  '50 

Caroline  (a)     . 
Tennessee  (    ) 
California  .    . 
Panama  (a).    . 

Apr.  16,  '50 
May     1,  '50 
May  30,  '50 
June    1,  '50 
June  15,  '50 

May     7,  '50 

(a)  Extra  trips.     (6)  Understood  to  be. 

U.  S.  Gov.  Doc.,  32d  cong.  1st  sess.,  Sen.  Ex.  Doc.  50,  p.  42-44.  The  three 
original  steamers  plied  here  for  a  number  of  years,  but  were  in  time  replaced 
on  that  route  by  newer  vessels.  In  the  S.  F.  Bulletin,  Feb.  28,  1865,  we  read: 
'The  California  is  now  lying  at  Acapulco,  whither  she  was  taken  to  run  be 
tween  the  Mexican  ports.  The  Panama  and  Oreyon  are  plying  between  this 
city  and  ports  on  the  northern  coast.'  Again,  the  Olympia  Transcript,  June 
17,  1876,  states  that  all  three  'have  disappeared  from  the  passenger  trade, 
but  are  still  in  service.  The  Oregon  is  a  barkentine  engaged  in  the  Puget 
Sound  lumber  trade.  The  Panama  is  a  storeship  at  Acapulco;  and  the  Cali 
fornia  is  a  barkentine  in  the  Australian  trade.'  The  three  steamers  added 
were  the  Columbia  and  Tennessee  in  1850,  and  the  Golden  Gate  in  1851.  Be 
tween  Mar.-Oct.  1850,  50  per  cent  was  added  to  the  mail  compensation,  and 
75  per  cent  after  this,  or  $348,250  per  annum  in  all.  U.  S.  Gov.  Doc. ,  as  above, 
7  et  seq. ;  Pioneer  Arch.,  157-60;  Alta  Gal.,  June  7,  1876.  The  accommoda 
tion  of  the  Pacific  line  has  ever  been  superior  to  that  of  the  Atlantic.  A 
depot  for  repairs  was  early  established  at  Benicia.  Land  was  bought  at  that 
place  and  at  San  Diego.  The  Northerner  arrived  Aug.  1850.  In  March  1851 
a  rival  line  had  four  steamers,  which,  with  odd  vessels,  made  fifteen  steamers 
on  the  route. 



The  transit  of  the  Isthmus  was  facilitated  by  the 
opening  in  January  1855  of  the  Panarnd  Railway,32 
which  gave  the  route  a  decided  advantage  over  others. 
Continental  crossings  drew  much  of  the  traffic  from 
the  voyage  by  way  of  Cape  Horn,  Tour  or  five  months 
in  duration,  and  involving  a  quadruple  transmigration 
of  terrestrial  zones,  capped  by  the  dangerous  rounding 
of  the  storm-beaten  cliffs  of  Tierra  del  Fuego,  often 
in  half-rotten  and  badly  fitted  hulks.  Indeed,  the 


circumnavigation  of  the  southern  mainland  by  Amer 
ican  gold-seekers  was  not  undertaken  to  any  extent 
after  the  first  years.  As  the  resources  of  California 
developed,  sea  travel  below  Panama  began  to  stop, 

32  Which  reduced  the  expense  and  hardships  of  the  long  mule-and-boat 
journey,  while  lessening  the  exposure  to  fevers.  Concerning  the  contracts 
and  mistakes  of  the  projectors,  the  five  years  of  struggle  with  the  under 
taking,  and  its  immense  cost  in  life  and  money,  I  refer  to  the  interoceauic 
question  in  Hist.  Cent.  Am.,  iii.,  this  series. 


and  distribute  itself  over  the  different  crossing-places 
opened  by  explorers  for  interoceanic  communication: 
across  Mexico  by  way  of  Tampico,  Vera  Cruz,  and 
Tehuantepec;  across  Central  America  via  Honduras, 
Nicaragua,  Costa  Rica,33  and  Panama.  The  last 
named  maintained  the  lead  only  for  a  brief  period, 
and  Nicaragua,  the  chief  rival  of  the  Panamd  route, 
distanced  all  the  rest.  Many  had  taken  this  route  in 
1849  on  the  bare  chance  of  finding  a  vessel  on  the 
Pacific  side.34  They  usually  met  with  disappointment, 
but  they  paved  the  way  for  later  comers,  and  encour 
aged  American  capitalists,  headed  by  Cornelius  Van- 
derbilt,  to  form  a  transit  company,  with  bimonthly 
steamers  between  New  York  and  California,  for  which 
concessions  were  obtained  from  Nicaragua  in  1849—51, 
under  guise  of  a  canal  contract.  With  cheaper  fares 
and  the  prospective  gain  of  two  days  over  the  Panama 
route,  together  with  finer  scenery  and  climate,  the 
line  quickly  became  a  favorite;  but  it  was  hampered 
by  inferior  accommodation  and  less  reliable  manage 
ment,  and  the  disturbed  condition  of  Nicaragua  began 
to  injure  it,  especially  in  1856,  after  which  business 
dissensions  tended  to  undermine  the  company.35 

33  In  1854  Costa  Rica  granted  a  charter  to  a  N.  Y.  co.  for  a  transit  route, 
which  gave  the  privilege  of  navigating  the  San  Juan  river.    Weils'  Walker's 
Exped.,  238-9.     It  proved  abortive. 

34  Instance   the   severe   experiences  of   Hitchcock.    Stat.,  MS.,   1-7;   and 
Doolittle.  Stat.,  MS.,  1-21.     See  also  Belly,  Nic.,  ii.  91. 

85  The  gold  rush  brightened  the  prospects  of  the  American  Atlantic  and 
Pacific  Ship  Canal  Co. ,  which  held  a  concession  for  a  canal  through  Nicaragua. 
A  new  body  headed  by  Jos.  L.  White  and  C.  Vanderbilt  undertook  to  revive 
it,  and  obtained  from  the  state  a  renewal  of  tKe  contract  dated  Sept.  22,  1849, 
amended  April  11,  1850,  against  a  yearly  payment  of  $10,000  till  the  canal 
should  be  completed,  when  twenty  per  cent  of  the  net  profit,  besides  stock 
shares,  should  follow;  meanwhile  paying  ten  per  cent  of  the  net  profit  on  any 
transit  route.  Several  articles  provided  for  protection,  exemptions,  etc.  See 
U.  S.  Gov.  Doc.,  31st  cong.  1st  sess.,  H.  Ex.  Doc.  75,  x.  141-5;  Id.,  34th 
cong.  1st  sess.,  Sen.  Doc.  68,  xiii.  84-103;  Nic.,  Contrato  de  Canal,  1849, 
1-16;  Id.,  Contratos  Comp.  Vapor.,  1-2;  Cent.  Am.  Pap.,  v.  53-5.  Other 
details  in  Hist.  Cent.  Am.,  iii.,  this  series.  The  incorporation  act  at  Leon  is 
dated  March  9,  1850.  Cent.  Am.  Misc.  Docs,  45;  Belly,  Nic.,  ii.  70-3.  The 
Clayton-Bulwer  treaty  of  April  19,  1850,  between  the  U.  S.  and  Eng.,  gave 
additional  guarantees  to  this  company;  but  U.  S.  Minister  Squier's  guarantee 
of  the  contract  was  not  ratified  by  his  government.  Squier'n  Cent.  Am.,  ii. 
262  et  seq.  The  aim  of  the  projectors  being  really  to  secure  the  right  of 
transit,  an  Accessory  Transit  Company  was  formed,  for  which,  on  Aug.  14, 
1851,  a  charter  was  obtained  from  the  Granada  faction,  then  iu  power,  which 


The  voyages  of  the  first  steamers  have  naturally 
retained  a  great  interest,  as  initiating  steam  commu- 

confirmed  the  privileges  of  the  canal  concession,  while  lessening  its  obligations. 
Nic.  Convenio,  1-2;  ticherfjer'a  Cent.  Am.,  245-6.  Meanwhile  a  hasty  sur 
vey  had  been  made  by  Col  Childs.  Squier's  Nic.,  657-60;  (Jisborne,  8;  followed 
by  an  inflation  of  the  stock  of  the  company  and  the  purchase  of  steamers  for 
bimonthly  trips.  Among  these  figured,  on  the  Pacific  side,  the  brother  Jon 
athan,  Uncle  tiam,  Pacific,  S.  S.  Lewis,  Independence,  and  Cortes.  S.  F. 
Directora,  1852,  24;  Alia,  CaL,  June  9,  1859,  etc.  Grey  Town  on  the  east, 
and  S.  Juan  del  Sur  on  the  Pacific,  became  the  terminal  ports,  the  latter 
replacing  Realejo.  On  Jan.  1,  1851,  the  first  connecting  lake  steamer, 
Director,  reached  La  Virgen.  Squier,  ii.  278;  Reichardt,  Nic.,  165;  Cent.  Am. 
Pap.,  iii.  206;  and  not  long  after  the  line  opened.  Reichardt,  Nic.,  173, 
181,  estimates  the  traffic  to  and  fro  two  years  later  at  3,000  per  month, 
fare  $250  and  $180.  From  Grey  Town  a  river  steamer  carried  passengers 
to  Castillo  Viejo  rapids;  here  a  half-mile  portage  to  the  lake  steamer, 
which  landed  them  at  La  Virgen,  whence  a  mule  train  crossed  the  13  miles 
to  San  Juan  del  Sur.  Scenery  and  climate  surpassed  those  of  Panama.  See 
detailed  account  in  my  Inter  Pocula.  But  the  management  was  inferior,  the 
intermediate  transportation  insufficient  and  less  reliable,  owing  to  low  water, 
etc.,  and  little  attention  was  paid  to  the  health  or  comfort  of  the  passengers. 
JJolinski,  CaL,  246-79;  Cent.  Am.  Pap.,  i.  3,  iv.  2,  v.  100,  etc.  Disasters 
came,  in  the  loss  of  two  Pacific  steamers,  the  bombardment  of  Grey  Town, 
etc.  Id.;  Perez,  Mem.  Nic.,  55-6;  Pan.  Herald,  April  1,  1854;  Alta  CaL, 
March  27,  1854.  With  the  advent  of  Garrison  as  manager  business  improved; 
but  Nicaragua  became  dissatisfied  under  the  failure  of  the  company  to  pay 
the  stipulated  share  of  profit.  The  unprincipled  steamship  men  complicated 
their  accounts  only  to  cheat  Nicaragua,  relying  on  Yankee  bluster  and  the 
weakness  of  the  Nicaraguan  government  to  see  them  out  in  their  rascality. 
Then  came  Walker  the  filibuster.  He  was  at  first  favored  by  the  company, 
but  subsequently  thought  it  necessary  to  press  the  government  claim  for 
nearly  half  a  million  dollars.  This  being  disputed,  a  decree  of  Feb.  18,  1856, 
revoked  the  charter  and  ordered  the  seizure  of  all  steamers  and  effects,  partly 
on  the  ground  that  the  company  favored  the  opposition  party.  Vanderbilt 
came  forth  in  protest  and  denial,  claiming  that  the  contract  so  far  had  been 
carried  out,  and  demanded  protection  from  U.  S.  The  property  seized  was 
valued  at  nearly  $1,000,000.  Inventory  and  correspondence  in  U.  S.  Gov. 
Doc.,  34th  cong.  1st  sess.,  Sen.  Doc.  68,  xiii.  113  et  seq.;  Id.,  35th  cong.  2d 
sess.,  H.  Ex.  Doc.  100,  ix.  doc.  ii.  Walker  transferred  the  charter  to  another 
company.  Vanderbilt  enlisted  Costa  Rican  aid  and  recaptured  his  steamers. 
Concerning  attendant  killing  of  Americans,  etc.,  see  Wells'  Walker's  Exped., 
170-5;  Nicarayuense,  Feb.  23,  July  26,  1856,  etc.;  Perez,  Mem.,  27-30;  Nouv. 
Annales  Voy.,  cxlvii.  136-41;  Sac.  Union,  Dec.  20,  1855,  April  17,  June  4, 
JO,  1856;  Alta  CaL,  March  22,  Aug.  13,  1856,  etc.  Vanderbilt  resumed  busi 
ness  under  the  succeeding  governments,  but  with  frequent  interruptions, 
partly  by  political  factions,  with  annulments  of  contracts,  changes  in  man 
agement,  and  even  of  companies.  Vanderbilt  was  at  one  time  charged  with 
allowing  himself  to  be  bought  off  by  the  Panama  line  for  $40,000  per  month 
and  pocketing  the  money.  Id.,  Jan.  9,  1859.  In  1860  an  English  company 
obtained  a  concession,  but  the  American  company  resumed  its  trips,  and  in 
1865  its  steerage  rates  were  $50.  In  1868  the  Central  American  Transit  Co., 
then  operating,  was  reported  to  be  bankrupt.  The  opening  soon  after  of  the 
overland  railroad  to  California  rendered  a  transit  line  across  Nicaragua  use 
less,  since  it  depended  solely  on  passengers.  In  1870  contracts  were  made 
with  the  Panamd  and  other  lines  to  merely  touch  at  Nicaraguan  ports.  Nic. 
Informe  Fomento,  iii.  2-3,  iv,  4;  Gac.  Nic.,  Jan.  11,  Feb.  22,  1868;  March  12, 
1870;  Kirchhof,  Rei*e.,  i.  313-59;  Rocha,  Codi<jo  Nic.,  ii.  133,  141-2,  with 
contract  annulments  in  1858-63;  JVic.  Decritos,  1859,  ii.  78-9;  Alta  Col.,  Sept. 


nication,  and  as  bringing  some  of  tne  most  prominent 
pioneers,  for  such  is  the  title  accorded  to  all  arrivals 
during  1849  as  well  as  previous  years.  They  also  ran 
the  gauntlet  of  much  danger,  and  no  one  of  the  Argo's 
heroes  was  more  proud  of  his  perilous  exploit  than  is 
the  modern  Argonaut  who  reached  the  western  Colchis 
with  the  initial  trip  of  the  Panama,  the  Oregon,  or, 
better  than  all,  the  California.  Annual  celebrations, 
wide-spread  throughout  the  world,  abundantly  testify 
to  the  truth  of  this  statement.  And  it  is  right  and 
proper  that  it  should  be  so.  The  only  regret  is,  that 
so  few  of  the  passengers  by  early  sailing  vessels  should 
have  left  similar  records,  and  that  as  year  after  year 
goes  by  the  number  of  our  Argonauts  is  thinned;  soon 
all  will  be  with  their  pelagian  prototypes. 

16,  1857;  Jan.  21,  May  30,  July  30,  Aug.  16,  Oct.  26,  Nov.  8,  1858;  May  26, 
June  9,  10,  1859;  8.  F.  Bulletin,  Feb.  12,  May  25,  June  2,  1859;  March  29, 
1860;  Aug.  21,  1862;  March  23,  1865;  S.  F.  Gail,  July  19,  1865;  Pirn's  Gate 
Pac.,  221-43;  Boyle's  Ride,  33-8. 




A  CURRENT  equal  in  magnitude  to  the  one  by  sea 
poured  with  the  opening  spring  overland,  chiefly  frora 
the  western  United  States.  It  followed  the  routes 
traversed  by  trappers  and  explorers  since  the  dawn  of 
the  century,  and  lately  made  familiar  by  the  reports 
of  Fremont,  by  the  works  of  travellers  like  Bidwell, 
Hastings,  Bryant,  Thornton,  and  by  the  records  of 
two  great  migrations,  one  in  1843  to  Oregon,  and  the 
other  in  1846  to  California,  the  latter  followed  by  the 
Mormon  exodus  to  Utah.  Organization  into  parties 
became  here  more  necessary  than  by  sea,  for  moving 
and  guarding  camps,  and  especially  for  defence  against 

Contributions  were  consequently  levied  for  the 
purchase  of  wagons,  animals,  provisions,  and  even 
trading  goods,  unless  the  member  was  a  farmer  in 
possession  of  these  things.  The  latter  advantage 
made  this  journey  preferable  to  a  large  number,  and 
even  the  poor  man  could  readily  secure  room  in  a 



wagon  for  the  small  supplies  alone  indispensable,  or 
obtain  free  passage  as  driver  and  assistant.1 

The  rendezvous  at  starting  was  on  the  Missouri 
River,  at  St  Joseph  or  Independence,  long  points  of 
departure  for  overland  travel,  either  via  the  west 
ern  main  route,  which  is  now  marked  by  the  Union 
and  Central  Pacific  railroad  line,  or  by  the  Santa  Fe 
trail.  Here  they  gathered  from  all  quarters  eastward, 
on  foot  and  horseback,  some  with  pack-animals  or 
mule-teams,  but  most  of  them  in  vehicles.  These 
were  as  various  in  their  equipment,  quality,  and  ap 
pearance  as  were  the  vessels  for  the  ocean  trip,  from 
the  ponderous  '  prairie  schooner'  of  the  Santa  Fe 
trader,  to  the  common  cart  or  the  light  painted  wagon 
of  the  down-east  Yankee.2  Many  were  bright  with 
streamers  and  flaring  inscriptions,  such  as  "Ho,  for  the 

of  the  associations  were  bound  by  formal  contracts,  often  by  an 
agreement  to  sustain  the  partnership  in  Cal.  Instance  Journey  of  the  Cali 
fornia  Association,  in  Ashley's  Doc.  Hist.  CaL,  M.S.,  271-377.  The  associa 
tion  was  formed  at  Munroe,  Mich.,  in  Feb.  1849,  and  consisted  of  ten 
members,  intent  on  mining  and  trading.  Two  persons  who  remained  at  home 
defrayed  the  expenses  with  an  advance  of  $5,000  in  return  for  half  the  pros 
pective  gains.  The  company  failed  in  its  plans  and  separated.  Ashley  settled 
at  Monterey  as  a  lawyer,  and  represented  the  county  in  the  state  assembly  in 
1856-7.  In  1859  lie  was  state  treasurer,  and  subsequently  moving  to  Nevada, 
he  twice  represented  that  state  in  congress;  he  died  at  S.  F.  in  1873.  Salinas 
City  Inde.i;  July  24,  1873.  Another  association  is  recorded  by  Cassin,  Stat., 
MS.,  1,  who  left  Cincinnati  with  40  others;  'we  each  paid  in  $200  to  the 
company's  fund.'  Further:  Pittsburgh  and  Cal.  Enterprise  Co.  of  some  250 
members,  in  Hayes1  Scraps,  Ariz.,  v.  29;  MisceL  Stat.,  MS.,  17-8;  Seneca  Co. 
of  Cleveland.  Van  Dyke's  Stat.,  MS.,  1-2.  Ithaca  Co.,  in  Cal.  Pioneers,  pt  30, 
2-3.  The  overland  express  train  of  230  men  under  Capt.  French,  of  1850, 
suffered  many  mishaps  and  horrors.  Alta  CaL,  Dec.  17,  1850,  Mar.  5,  1872; 
Pac.  New*,  Dec.  26,  1850;  S.  F.  Picayune,  Dec.  18,  1850.  The  Cumberland 
Co.  was  a  trading  association  of  50  men,  subscribing  $500  each.  Most  of  the 
emigrants,  however,  combined  merely  for  defence  and  aid  during  the  journey 
in  a  train  known  by  the  name  of  the  captain  elected  to  direct  it.  Instance 
the  parties  under  Egans,  Owens,  Aired,  Gully,  Knapp,  H.  S.  Brown,  Latham, 
Parson,  Townsend  or  Rough  and  Ready,  Lee,  Sullenger,  Taylor,  Staples, 
Word,  Cooper,  Barrow,  Thorne-Beckwith,  Stuart,  etc.  References  in  Ash 
ley's  Doc.  J/ist.  Cal.,  MS.,  271-377,  395-6;  Miscel.  Stat.,  MS.,  1  et  seq.; 
Morgan's  Trip,  MS.,  3-14;  Kirkpatrick's  Journal,  MS.,  3  et  seq.;  Brown's 
Stat'.,  MS  ,  1-11;  S.  F.  Bulletin,  Sept.  18,  1860;  Pearson's  RecoL,  MS.,  1-2; 
Nevada  and  Gra*s  Valley  Directory,  1856,  43;  Dameron's  Antobioy.,  MS.,  19; 
Placer  Times,  Aug.  11,  1849,  etc.;  Grass  Valley  Rep.,  Mar.  8,  1872;  Staples' 
Stat.,  MS.,  1-7;  Vallejo  Indep.,  June  1-8,  1872;  Hayes'  Diary,  MS.,  8-110; 
Harrow's  Twelve  Nights,  165-268;  U.  S.  Gov.  £>oc./31st  cong.  2d  sess.>,  Sen. 
Doc.  19,  p.  15. 

^The  long  geared  prairie  schooner  differed  from  the  square-bodied  wagons 
of  the  north-west,  in  its  peculiar  widening  from  the  bottom  upward.  See 
description  in  Hutchinys  May.,  iv.  351. 


diggings!"  and  presented  within,  beneath  the  yet  clean 
white  canvass  cover,  a  cosey  retreat  for  the  family. 
Heavy  conveyances  were  provided  with  three  yoke 
of  oxen,  besides  relays  of  animals  for  difficult  passages; 
a  needful  precaution;  for  California  as  well  as  the  in 
termediate  country  being  regarded  as  a  wilderness, 
the  prudent  ones  had  brought  ample  supplies,  some 
indeed,  in  excess,  to  last  for  two  years.  Others  car 
ried  all  sorts  of  merchandise,  in  the  illusive  hope  of 
sales  at  large  profits.  Consequently  such  of  the  men 
as  had  not  riding  animals  were  compelled  to  walk, 
and  during  the  first  part  of  the  journey  even  the  women 
and  children  could  not  always  find  room  in  the  wagons.3 
Later,  as  one  article  after  another  was  thrown  away 
to  lighten  the  load,  regard  for  the  jaded  beasts  made 
walking  more  complusory  than  ever. 

It  seemed  a  pity  to  drag  so  many  women  and  their 
charges  from  comfortable  homes  to  face  the  dangers 
and  hardships  of  such  a  journey.  As  for  the  men, 
they  were  as  a  rule  hardy  farmers  or  sturdy  young 
villagers,  better  fitted  as  a  class  for  pioneers  than  the 
crowd  departing  by  sea;  and  appearances  confirmed 
the  impression  in  the  predominance  of  hunting  and 
rough  backwoods  garbs,  of  canvas  jackets  or  colored 
woollen  shirts,  with  a  large  knife  and  pistols  at  the  belt, 
a  rifle  slung  to  the  back,  and  a  lasso  at  the  saddle- 
horn,  the  most  bristling  arsenal  being  displayed  by 
the  mild-mannered  and  timid.*  There  was  ample  op 
portunity  to  test  their  quality,  even  at  the  rendezvous, 
for  animals  were  to  be  broken,  wagons  repaired  and 
loaded,  and  drill  acquired  for  the  possible  savage  war 

3 '  Men,  women,  and  children,  even  women  with  infants  at  their  breasts, 
trudging  along  on  foot.'  St  Louis  Union,  May  25,  1849.  'We  were  nearly 
all  afoot,  and  there  were  no  seats  in  the  wagons.'  Hittell's  speech  before 
the  pioneers.  Many  preferred  walking  to  jolting  over  the  prairie. 

*  Indignant  at  the  frequent  allusions  to  Spanish-Californians  as  half -civil 
ized  Indians,  Vallejo  points  to  some  of  the  Missourian  backwoodsmen  as  more 
resembling  Indians  in  habits  as  well  as  uncouth  appearance.  Vallejo,  Docs, 
MS.,  xxx vi.  287.  The  western  states  were  almost  depopulated  by  the  exodus, 
says  Borthwick;  Three  Years  in  Gal.,  2-3. 
HIST.  CAL.,  VOL  VI.  10 


The  gathering  began  early  in  April,  and  by  the  end 
of  the  month  some  20,000,  representing  every  town 
and  village  in  the  States,  were  encamped  on  the  fron 
tier,  making  their  final  preparations,  and  waiting  until 
the  grass  on  the  plains  should  be  high  enough  to  feed 
the  animals.  At  the  opening  of  May  the  grand  pro 
cession  started,  and  from  then  till  the  beginning  of 
June  company  after  company  left  the  frontier,  till  the 
trail  from  the  starting-point  to  Fort  Laramie  pre 
sented  one  long  line  of  pack-trains  and  wagons.  Along 
some  sections  of  the  road  the  stream  was  unbroken 
for  miles,5  and  at  night,  far  as  the  eye  could  reach, 
camp-fires  gleamed  like  the  lights  of  a  distant  city. 
"The  rich  meadows  of  the  Nebraska  or  Platte,"  writes 
Bayard  Taylor,  "were  settled  for  the  time,  and  a  single 
traveller  could  have  journeyed  for  1,000  miles,  as  cer 
tain  of  his  lodging  and  regular  meals  as  if  he  were 
riding  through  the  old  agricultural  districts  of  the 
middle  states." 

For  a  while  there  is  little  to  check  the  happy  antici 
pations  formed  during  the  excitement,  and  sustained  by 
the  well-filled  larders  and  a  new  country;  and  so,  with 
many  an  interchange  of  chat  and  repartee,  between 
the  bellowing  and  shouting  of  animals  and  men,  and 
the  snapping  of  whips,  the  motley  string  of  pedestrians 
and  horsemen  advances  by  the  side  of  the  creaking 
wagons.  Occasionally  a  wayside  spring  or  brook  pro 
longs  the  midday  halt  of  the  more  sober-minded, 
while  others  hasten  on  to  fill  the  gap.  Admonished 
by  declining  day,  the  long  line  breaks  into  groups, 
which  gather  about  five  o'clock  at  the  spots  selected 
to  camp  for  the  night.  The  wagons  roll  into  a  circle, 
or  on  a  river  bank  in  semicircle,  to  form  a  bulwark 
against  a  possible  foe,  and  a  corral  for  the  animals 

5  'Thursday,  June  8th.  Met  a  man  whose  train  was  on  ahead,  who  told 
us  that  he  had  counted  459  teams  within  nine  miles.  When  we  started  after 
dinner  there  were  150  that  appeared  to  be  in  one  train.  .  .Friday,  June  23d. 
Passed  the  upper  Platte  ferry.  The  ferryman  told  me  he  had  crossed  900 
teams,  and  judged  that  there  were  about  1,500  on  the  road  ahead  of  us.  Yet 
siill  they  come.'  KirkpatricVs  Journal,  MS.,  14,  16. 



now  turned  loose  to  graze  and  rest.  Tents  unfold, 
fires  blaze,  and  all  is  bustle;  women  cooking,  and  men 
tending  and  tinkering.  Then  conies  a  lull;  the  meal 
over,  the  untrammelled  flames  shoot  aloft,  pressing 
farther  back  the  flitting  shadows,  and  finding  reflec 
tion  in  groups  of  contented  faces,  moving  in  sympathy 
to  the  changing  phases  of  some  story,  or  to  the  strains 
of  song  and  music.6  The  flames  subside;  a  hush  falls 
on  the  scene;  the  last  figures  steal  away  under  tent 
and  cover,  save  two,  the  sentinels,  who  stalk  around 
to  guard  against  surprise,  and  to  watch  the  now  pick 
eted  animals,  till  relieved  at  midnight.  With  the 
first  streaks  of  dawn  a  man  is  called  from  each  wagon 


to  move  the  beasts  to  better  feed.  Not  long  after 
four  o'clock  all  are  astir,  and  busy  breakfasting  and 
preparing  to  start.  Tents  are  struck,  and  horses  har 
nessed,  and  at  six  the  march  is  taken  up  again. 

Not  until  the  River  Platte  is  reached,  some  ten  or 
fifteen  days  out,  does  perfect  order  and  routine  reign. 
The  monotonous  following  of  this  stream  wears  away 
that  novelty  which  to  the  uninitiated  seems  to  demand 
a  change  of  programme  for  every  day's  proceedings, 
and  about  this  point  each  caravan  falls  into  ways  of 
its  own,  and  usually  so  continues  to  the  end  of  the 
journey,  under  the  supervision  of  an  elected  captain 

6  Specimen  of  emigrant  song  in  Walton's  Gold  Regions,  28-32;  Stillmaiis 
Golden  Fleece,  23-4. 


and  his  staff.  Harmony  is  often  broken,  however,  at 
one  time  on  the  score  of  route  and  routine,  at  another 
in  the  enforcement  of  regulations;  and  even  if  the 
latter  be  overcome  by  amendments  and  change  of 
officers,  enough  objections  may  remain  to  cause  the 
split  of  a  party.  Associates  quarrel  and  separate ;  the 
hired  man,  finding  himself  master  of  the  situation, 
grows  insolent  and  rides  on,  leaving  his  employer  be 
hind.  The  sameness  of  things  often  palls  as  days  and 
months  pass  away  and  no  sign  of  human  habitation 
appears;  then,  again,  the  changes  from  prairies  where 
the  high  grass  half  covers  the  caravan  to  sterile  plain, 
from  warm  pleasant  valleys  to  bleak  and  almost  im 
passable  mountains,  and  thence  down  into  miasmatic 
swamps  with  miry  stretches,  and  afterward  sandy 
sinks  and  forbidding  alkali  wastes  and  salt  flats  baked 
and  cracked  by  sun,  and  stifling  with  heat  and  dust; 
through  drenching  rains  and  flooded  lowlands,  and 
across  the  sweeping  river  currents — and  all  with  occa 
sional  chilling  blasts,  suffocating  simoons,  and  constant 
fear  of  savages. 

This  and  more  had  the  overland  travellers  to  en 
counter  in  greater  or  less  degree  during  their  jaunt 
of  2,000  miles  and  more.  Yet,  after  all,  it  was  not 
always  hard  and  horrible.  There  was  much  that  was 
enjoyable,  particularly  to  persons  in  health — bright 
skies,  exhilarating  air,  and  high  anticipations.  For 
romance  as  well  as  danger  the  overland  journey  was 
not  behind  the  voyage  by  sea,  notwithstanding  the 
several  changes  in  the  latter  of  climate,  lands,  and 
peoples.  Glimpses  of  landscapes  and  society  were  rare 
from  shipboard,  and  the  unvarying  limitless  water 
became  dreary  with  monotony.  Storms  and  other 
dangers  brought  little  inspiration  or  reliance  to  coun 
teract  oppressive  fear.  Man  lay  here  a  passive  toy 
for  the  elements.  But  each  route  had  its  attractions 
and  discomforts,  particularly  the  latter. 

The  Indians  in  1849  were  not  very  troublesome. 
The  numbers  of  the  pale-faces  were  so  large  that  they 


did  not  know  what  to  make  of  it.  So  they  kept  pru 
dently  in  the  background,  rarely  venturing  an  attack, 
save  upon  some  solitary  hunter  or  isolated  band,  with 
an  occasional  effort  at  stampeding  stock.  Some  sought 
intercourse  with  the  white  rnen,  hoping  by  begging, 
stealing,  and  offer  of  services  to  gain  some  advantage 
from  the  transit,  nevertheless  keeping  the  suspicious 
emigrants  constantly  on  the  alert. 

The  Indians'  opportunity  was  to  come  in  due  time, 
however,  after  other  troubles  had  run  their  course. 
The  first  assumed  the  terrible  form  of  cholera,  which, 
raging  on  the  Atlantic  seaboard,  ascended  the  Missis 
sippi,  and  overtook  the  emigrants  about  the  time  of 
their  departure,  following  them  as  far  as  the  elevated 
mountain  region  beyond  Fort  Laramie.  At  St  Joseph 
and  Independence  it  caused  great  mortality  among 
those  who  were  late  in  setting  out;  and  for  hundreds 
of  miles  along  the  road  its  ravages  were  recorded  by 
newly  made  graves,  sometimes  marked  by  a  rough 
head-board,  but  more  often  designated  only  by  the 
desecration  of  wolves  and  coyotes.  The  emigrants 
were  not  prepared  to  battle  with  this  dreadful  foe. 
It  is  estimated  that  5, 000  thus  perished;  and  as  many 
of  these  were  the  heads  of  families  on  the  march,  the 
affliction  was  severe.  So  great  was  the  terror  inspired 
that  the  victims  were  often  left  to  perish  on  the  road 
side  by  their  panic-stricken  companions.  On  the  other 
hand,  there  were  many  instances  of  heroic  devotion,  of 
men  remaining  alone  with  a  comrade  while  the  rest  of 
the  company  rushed  on  to  escape  contagion,  and  nurs 
ing  him  to  his  recovery,  to  be  in  turn  stricken  down 
and  nursed  by  him  whose  life  had  been  saved.  It 
seemed  as  if  the  scourge  had  been  sent  upon  them  by 
a  divinity  incensed  at  their  thirst  for  gold,  and  some 
of  the  more  superstitious  of  the  emigrants  saw  therein 
the  hand  of  Providence,  and  returned.  To  persons 
thus  disposed,  that  must  have  been  a  spectacle  of 
dreadful  import  witnessed  by  Cassin  and  his  party. 
They  were  a  few  days  out  from  Independence;  the 


cholera  was  at  its  height,  when  one  day  they  saw  afar 
off,  and  apparently  walking  in  the  clouds,  a  procession 
of  men  bearing  aloft  a  coffin.  It  was  only  a  mirage, 
the  reflection  of  a  funeral  taking  place  a  day's  journey 
distant,  but  to  the  beholders  it  was  an  omen  of  their 
fate  set  up  in  the  heavens  as  a  warning. 

Thus  it  was  even  in  the  route  along  the  banks  of 
the  Platte,  where  meadows  and  springs  had  tempted 
the  cattle,  and  antelopes  and  wild  turkeys  led  on  the 
yet  spirited  hunter  to  herds  of  buffalo  and  stately 
elk;  for  here  was  the  game  region.  This  river  was 
usually  struck  at  Grand  Island,  and  followed  with 
many  a  struggle  through  the  marshy  ground  to  the 
south  branch,  fordable  at  certain  points  and  seasons,  at 
others  crossed  by  ferriage,  on  rafts  or  canoes  lashed 
together,7  with  frequent  accidents.  Hence  the  route 
led  along  the  north  branch  from  Ash  Hollow  to  Fort 
Laramie,  the  western  outpost  of  the  United  States,8 
and  across  the  barren  Black  Hill  country,  or  by  the 
river  bend,  up  the  Sweetwater  tributary  into  the 
south  pass  of  the  Rocky  Mountains.  The  ascent  is 
almost  imperceptible,  and  ere  the  emigrant  is  aware 
of  having  crossed  the  central  ridge  of  tho  continent, 
he  finds  himself  at  the  head  of  the  Pacific  water  sys 
tem,  at  Green  River,  marked  by  a  butte  of  singular 
formation,  like  a  ruined  edifice  with  majestic  dome  and 

The  next  point  was  Fort  Hall,9  at  the  junction  of 

7  Calked  wagon-beds  and  sheet-iron  boats  were  brought  into  service. 
'  Within  our  hearing  to-day  twelve  men  have  found  a  watery  grave, '  writes 
Kirkpatrick,  Journal,  MS.,  16,  at  Platte  ferry,  June  21,  1849;  see  also  Cas- 
sin's  A  Few  Facts  on  Cat.,  MS.,  2;  Brown's  Early  Days  in  Cat.,  MS.,  3-4. 

8 For  forts  on  this  route,  see  Hist.  B.  C.,  this  series;  U.  S.  Gov.  Doc., 
31st  cong.  1st  sess.,  H.  Ex.  Doc.,  v.  pt  i.  224.  Many  desertions  took  place 
from  the  garrison.  Coke's  Ride,  156.  The  first  company  arrived  here  May 
22d;  cholera  was  disappearing,  the  Crows  were  watching  to  carry  off  cattle. 
Placer  Times,  Oct.  13,  1849.  One  emigrant  journal  shows  that  it  took  fully 
six  weeks  to  traverse  the  670  miles  between  Independence  and  this  fort. 

9  The  fort  was  reached  by  two  routes  from  the  south  pass,  the  more  direct, 
Subletted  cut-off,  crossed  the  head  waters  of  the  Sandy  and  down  Bear  River 
to  its  junction  with  the  Thomas  branch.  The  other  followed  the  Sandy  to 
Green  River;  crossed  this  and  the  ridge  to  Fort  Bridger;  thence  across  the 
Muddy  Fork  and  other  Green  River  tributaries  into  Bear  River  Valley,  and 


the  Oregon  trail,  whence  the  route  led  along  Snake 
River  Valley  to  the  north  of  Goose  Creek  Mountains, 
and  up  this  stream10  to  the  head  waters  of  the  Hum- 
boldt,  also  called  Mary  and  Ogden  River.  This  was 
followed  along  its  entire  length  to  the  lake  or  sink 
into  which  it  disappears.  It  was  hereabout  that  the 
emigrants  were  the  most  frequently  driven  to  extrem 
ity.  Long  since  the  strain  and  hardships  of  the 
journey  had  claimed  their  victims.  Many  a  man, 
undaunted  by  the  cholera  and  the  heavy  march 
through  the  Platte  country,  abandoning  one  portion 
after  another  of  his  effects,  after  a  dozen  unloadings 
and  reloadings  and  toilsome  extrications  and  mount 
ings  within  as  many  hours;  undaunted,  even,  on 
approaching  the  summit  of  the  continent,  lost  his  zeal 
and  courage  on  nearing  the  Sierra  Nevada,  and  with 
his  gold  fever  abated,  he  turned  back  to  nurse  con 
tentment  in  his  lately  abandoned  home.11  Many, 
indeed,  tired  and  discouraged,  with  animals  thinned  in 
number  and  exhausted,  halted  at  Great  Salt  Lake,  ac 
cepting  the  invitation  of  the  Mormons  to  stay  through 
the  winter  and  recuperate.12  The  saints  undoubtedly 

north  to  the  Thomas  branch.  Hence  the  reunited  trails  reached  Fort  Hall 
by  way  of  Portneuf  River. 

10  Toward  the  end  of  1849  or  beginning  of  1850  a  trail  was  opened  from  Bear 
River  across  the  head  waters  of  the  Bannock,  Fall,  and  Raft  tributaries  of  Snake 
River,  meeting  the  other  trail  at  the  head  of  Goose  Creek.  Delano's  Life  on 
Plains,  138.  Another  important  branch  of  the  route,  so  sadly  recorded  by  the 
Donuer  company  of  1846,  and  tit  rather  for  lightly  equipped  parties  with  pack- 
animals  than  for  wagons,  was  the  Hastings  road.  It  started  from  Fort  Bridger, 
passed  round  the  southern  end  of  Great  Salt  Lake,  crossed  the  desert,  and 
proceeded  in  a  westerly  direction  till  the  east  Humboldt  Mountains  were 
struck  at  Franklin  River;  there  it  turned  abruptly,  passing  round  the 
southern  end  of  the  range,  and  followed  the  south  branch  of  the  Humboldt 
down  to  the  main  river.  Bryant,  What  I  Saw  in  Cat.,  i.  142-3,  passed  over  it 
successfully  in  1846.  The  Mormons  established  ferries  at  Weber  and  Bear 
rivers,  charging  $5  or  $8  for  each  team.  Slater's  Mormonism,  6. 

n  Placer  Times,  Oct.  13,  1849,  alludes  to  many  returns,  even  from  Lar- 
amie.  B.  F.  Dowell,  Letters,  MS.,  3,  bought  a  horse  from  one  who  turned 
back  after  having  travelled  700  miles;  '  he  had  seen  the  elephant,  and  eaten 
its  ears.' 

12  Instance  Morgan,  Trip  1840,  14-17.  The  number  wintering  in  1850-1 
was  large,  from  800  to  1,000,  says  Slater.  Mormonixm,  5-12,  37;  who  adds 
that  the  Mormons  withheld  or  reduced  wages  and  supplies,  so  that  many  suf 
fered  and  were  even  unable  to  proceed  on  their  journey.  Charges  to  this 
effect  were  published  in  Sac.  Union,  June  28,  1851;  but  they  should  be  taken 
with  due  allowance.  Staples,  lucid.,  MS.,  2-3,  accuses  the  Mormons  of  mani 
festing  their  hatred  for  Missourians. 


reaped  a  harvest  in  cheap  labor,  and  by  the  ready 
exchange  of  provisions  to  starving  emigrants  for 
wagons,  tools,  clothing,  arid  other  effects,  greatly  to 
the  delight  of  the  leaders,  who,  at  the  first  sight  of 
gold  from  California,  had  prophesied  plenty,  and  the 
sale  of  States  goods  at  prices  as  low  as  in  the  east.13 
Others,  eager  as  ever,  and  restive  under  the  frequent 
delays  and  slow  progress  of  the  ox  trains,  would  hasten 
onward  in  small  parties,  perhaps  alone,  perchance 
tempted  into  the  numerous  pitfalls  known  as  cut 
offs,  to  be  lost  in  the  desert,  overcome  by  heat  and 
thirst,  or  stricken  down  by  furtively  pursuing  savages, 
whose  boldness  increased  as  the  emigrant  force  became 

But  how  insignificant  appear  the  sufferings  of  the 
men  in  comparison  with  those  of  the  women  and  chil 
dren,  driven  after  a  long  and  toilsome  journey  into  a 
desert  of  alkali.  And  here  the  dumb  brutes  suffer  as 
never  before.  There  are  drifts  of  ashy  earth  in  these 
flats  in  which  the  cattle  sink  to  their  bellies,  and  go 
moaning  along  their  way  midst  a  cloud  of  dust  and 
beneath  a  broiling  sun,  while  just  beyond  are  fantas 
tic  visions  of  shady  groves  and  bubbling  springs;  for 
this  is  the  region  of  mirage,  and  not  far  off  the  desert 
extends  into  the  terrible  Valley  of  Death,  accursed 
to  all  living  things,  its  atmosphere  destructive  even 
to  the  passing  bird.  Many  are  now  weakened  by 
scurvy,  fever,  and  exhaustion.  There  are  no  longer 
surplus  relays.  The  remnant  of  animals  is  all  pressed 
into  service,  horse  and  cow  being  sometimes  yoked 
together.  The  load  is  still  further  lightened  to  re- 

13  Thus  had   spoken    Heber  C.  Kimball,  when  the  Mormon  gold-finders 
arrived    from   California,    although    he   doubted    his   own   words    the   next 
moment.     'Yet  it  was  the  best  prophetic  hit  of  his  life.'  Tullidye's  Life  of 
Younfj,  203-8. 

14  Seven  emigrants  were  surprised  in  the  Klamath  region  by  200  Indians, 
and  six  cut  down.     Lord,  Naturalist,  271,  found  bones  and  half-burned  wagons 
near  Yreka  ten  years  later.     Instance  also  in  U.  8.  Gov.  Doc.,  31st  cong.  2d 
sess. ,  Sen.   Doc.  19,  iii.   12.     More  than  one  solitary  traveller  is  spoken  of. 
See  QuvjW*  Ir^h  Rac^  2165  Sac-  Bee>  Oct-  3»  18"0-     One  wheeled  his  bag 
gage  in  a  barrow  at  the  pace  of  25  miles  a  day,  passing  many  who  travelled 
with  animals.   Coke1*  Ride,  166;  Solano  Co.  Hist.,  368-9. 



lieve  the  jaded  teams.  Even  feeble  women  must 
walk.  The  entire  line  is  strewn  with  dead  animals 
arid  abandoned  effects.  Vultures  and  coyotes  hover 
ominously  along  the  trail.  Gloomy  nights  are  followed 
by  a  dawn  of  fresh  suffering.  Now  and  then  some 
one  succumbs,  and  in  despair  bids  the  rest  fly  and 

:*$»  I     \ 

?  e^  \   \    o 

!"Jf.  *«mm«r   ia*«      Vl^eur 

f  M'/rfc;^"*---  ^  -t»«-«  ^.  (v 


leave  him  to  his  fate.  Some  of  the  trains  come  to  a 
stop,  and  the  wagons  are  abandoned,  while  the  ani 
mals  are  ridden  or  driven  forward.15 

15  The  passage  of  this,  desert  was  but  a  narrow  stretch,  from  two  to  four 
score  miles,  according  to  the  direction  taken,  but  was  very  severe,  especially 
to  wanderers  worn  out  and  stricken  with  disease.  Instances  of  suffering 


The  suffering  in  1849  fell  chiefly  upon  the  later  ar 
rivals,  when  water  was  scarce  and  the  little  grass  left 
by  the  earlier  caravans  had  dried  up.  The  savages, 
too,  became  troublesome.  Several  relief  parties  went 
out  from  the  mines.  In  1850  the  suffering  was  more 
severe  throughout,  partly  from  the  over-confidence 
created  by  the  news  of  well-stocked  markets  in  Cali 
fornia,  which  led  to  the  wasteful  sacrifice  of  stores  on 
the  way  by  the  overloaded  caravans  of  1849,  and  of 
the  scarcity  of  supplies  at  the  Mormon  way-station. 
Hence  many  started  with  scanty  supplies  and  poorer 
animals.  The  overflow  of  the  Humboldt  drove  the 
trains  to  the  barren  uplands,  lengthening  the  jour 
ney  and  starving  the  beasts.  So  many  oxen  and 
horses  perished  in  the  fatal  sink  that  the  effluvia 
revived  the  cholera,  arid  sent  it  to  ravage  the  enfeebled 
crowds  which  escaped  into  Sacramento  Valley.  Be 
hind  them  on  the  plains  were  still  thousands,  battling 
not  alone  with  this  and  other  scourges,  but  with  fam 
ine  and  cold,  for  snow  fell  early  and  massed  in  heavy 
drifts.  Tales  of  distress  were  brought  by  each  arrival, 
told  not  in  words  only,  but  by  the  blanched  and  hag 
gard  features,  until  California  was  filled  with  pity, 
and  the  government  combined  with  the  miners  and 
other  self-sacrificing  men  in  efforts  for  the  relief  of  the 
sufferers.  Carried  by  parties  in  all  directions  across 
the  mountains  and  through  the  snow,16  train  after 
train  was  saved;  yet  so  many  were  the  sufferers  that 
only  a  comparatively  small  number  could  be  much 
relieved.  Emaciated  men,  carrying  infants  crying  for 

abound  in  the  journals  of  the  time.  Alta  CaL,  Dec.  15,  1849,  et  seq.;  Placer 
Times  of  1849;  S.  F.  Herald,  Pac.  News,  Sac.  Union,  etc.,  of  following  years. 
Duncan's  Southern  Region,  MS.,  1-2.  See  following  note. 

16  During  this  year,  1849,  the  authorities  appropriated  $100,000  for  relief, 
and  troops  passed  eastward  with  supplies,  partly  under  Maj.  Rucker.  See 
reports  in  U.  S.  Oov.  Doc.,  31st  cong.  1st  sess.,  Sen.  Doc.  52,  xiii.  94-154;  Id., 
30th  cong.  2d  sess.,  Acts  and  Resol.,  155;  Smith's  Kept,  in  Tyson's  Geol.,  84. 
The  public  also  subscribed  liberally.  Pl«cer  Times,  Sept.  15,  1849;  Sherman's 
Mem.,  i.  80.  In  1850  the  public  made  even  greater  efforts  in  all  directions, 
and  Capt.  Waldo  headed  one  relief  train.  Upkam's  Note*,  351-2;  Gal.  Jour. 
Srn.,  1851,  607-10;  Sac.  Transcript,  Sept.  23, 1850,  etc.  Appeals  for  subscrip 
tions  and  responses  are  given  in  all  the  journals  of  the  time.  See  next  note. 


food,  stopped  to  feed  on  the  putrefying  carcasses  lining 
the  road,  or  to  drink  from  alkaline  pools,  only  to  in 
crease  their  misery,  and  finally  end  in  suicide.17  "The 
suffering  is  unparalleled,"  cry  several  journals  in  Sep 
tember  1850,  in  their  appeal  for  relief ;  nine  tenths  of 
the  emigrants  were  on  foot,  without  food  or  money; 
not  half  of  their  oxen,  not  one  fourth  of  their  horses, 
survived  to  cross  the  mountains,  and  beyond  the  desert 
were  still  20,000  souls,  the  greater  part  of  whom  were 

After  escaping  from  the  desert,  the  emigrant  had 
still  to  encounter  the  difficult  passage  of  the  Sierra 
Nevada,  so  dangerous  after  snow  began  to  fall,  as 
instanced  by  the  terrible  fate  of  the  Donner  party  in 
1846.  Of  the  several  roads,  the  most  direct  was  along 
Truckee  River  to  its  source  in  the  lake  of  that  name, 

1T  On  the  Humboldt,  says  Delano,  Life,  238-9,  three  men  and  two  women 
drowned  themselves  in  one  day. 

18  The  report  of  the  Waldo  relief  party,  in  Sac.  Transcript,  Sept.  23,  1850, 
stated  that  large  supplies  from  Marysville  had  failed  to  pass  beyond  Bear 
Valley,  west  of  the  Sierra,  owing  to  the  animals  failing.  At  the  lower 
Truckee  crossing  beef  had  been  deposited,  and  a  number  of  stout  animals 
sent  to  carry  sick  emigrants  across  the  desert.  Several  starving  men  were 
encountered,  and  the  dead  bodies  of  others  who  had  succumbed.  Few  were 
found  with  provisions,  save  their  exhausted  teams;  one  fourth,  having  no 
animals,  lived  on  the  putrefying  carcasses,  thus  absorbing  disease.  Cholera 
broke  out  Sept.  8th,  in  one  small  train,  carrying  off  eight  persons  in  three 
hours,  several  more  being  expected  to  die.  From  the  sink  westward  the 
havoc  was  fearful.  Indians  added  to  the  misery  by  stealing  animals.  Of 
20,000  emigrants  still  back  of  the  desert,  fully  15,000  were  destitute,  and  their 
greatest  suffering  was  to  come;  half  of  them  could  not  reach  the  mountains 
before  winter;  from  5,000  to  8,000  Ibs  of  beef  were  issued  daily;  flour  was 
furnished  only  to  the  sick.  Those  yet  at  the  head  of  the  Humboldt  were  to 
be  warned  to  turn  back  to  Great  Salt  Lake.  Similar  accounts  in  earlier  and 
later  numbers.  Id.,  July  26,  Aug.  16,  Sept.  30,  1850,  Feb.  1,  14,  1851,  etc. 
Owing  to  the  number  of  applicants,  relief  rations  had  to  be  reduced.  Id., 
Steamer  eds.  of  Aug.  30th,  Oct.  14th.  Barstow,  Stat.,  MS.,  12-13,  who  went 
out  with  provisions,  declares  that  he  could  almost  step  from  one  abandoned 
wagon  and  carcass  to  another.  See  further  accounts  in  Mixed.  Stat. ;  Shearer's 
Jourii'd,  MS.,  1-3;  Connor's  Stat.,  MS.,  4-5;  DoweWs  Letters,  MS.,  1-34; 
Sherwood's  Pocket  Guide,  47-64;  Picayune,  Aug.  21,  Sept.  3-4,  12,  1850;  .V. 
F.  four.,  July  13,  24,  Aug.  9,  17,  20,  26,  1850;  S.  F.  Herald,  July  13,  27-9, 
Aug.  21-2,  1850;  Deseret  News,  Oct.  5,  1850;  Alta  Cal,  Dec.  17,  1850;  Del 
ano's  Life  on  Plains,  234-42;  Pac.  News,  Aug.  21-2,  24,  1850;  Sac.  Bee,  Dec. 
7,  1867;  Beadle's  Western  Wilds,  38-40;  Aljers  Youug  Adven.,  185,  etc.;  Los 
Angeles  Rep.,  Feb.  28,  Mar.  14,  1878;  Brown'*  Early  Day*,  MS.,  2-4,  7« 
Devoted  men  like  Waldo,  who  so  freely  offered  themselves  and  their  means 
for  the  relief  of  the  sufferers,  cannot  be  too  highly  praised  and  remembered 
by  Californians. 


and  thence  down  the  Yuba  to  Feather  and  Sacramento 
rivers.19     The  route  so  far  described,  by  way  of  the 

19 Through  Henness  pass.  A  trail  branched  by  Dormer  Lake  along  the 
north  branch  of  the  American.  The  most  northern  route,  Lassen's,  turned 
from  the  great  bend  of  the  Humboldt  north-west  to  Goose  Lake,  there  to  swing 
southward  by  the  Oregon  trail  along  Pit  River  and  Honey  Lake  into  the  Sac 
ramento  Valley.  Hostile  Indians,  and  snow,  and  greater  extent  of  desert 
combined  to  give  this  the  name  of  the  Death  Route,  so  that  few  followed  it 
after  the  early  part  of  1849.  YrekaJour.,  Feb.  18,  1871.  A  branch  from  ib 
struck  across  Upper  Mud  Lake  toward  Honey  Lake.  Below  Truckee  ran  the 
Carson  River  route,  turning  south  of  Lake  Tahoe  through  Johnson  Pass  and 
down  the  south  fork  of  American  River.  A  branch  turned  to  the  west  fork 
of  Walker  River  through  Sonora  pass  and  Sonora  to  Stockton.  The  main 
route  from  the  east  is  well  described  in  a  little  emigrant's  guide-book  pub 
lished  by  J.  E.  Ware.  After  giving  the  intending  emigrant  instructions  as 
to  his  outfit,  estimates  of  expense,  directions  for  forming  camp,  etc.,  the 
author  follows  the  entire  route  from  one  camping-place  or  prominent  point  to 
the  next,  describes  the  intervening  road  and  river  crossings,  points  out  where 
fuel  and  water  can  be  obtained,  and  gives  distances  as  well  as  he  can.  I:i 
1849  Ware  set  out  for  Cal.,  was  taken  ill  east  of  Laramie,  and  heartlessly 
abandoned  by  his  companions,  and  thus  perished  miserably.  Delano  says  he 
was  'formerly  from  Galena,  but  known  in  St  Louis  as  a  writer.'  Life  on  the 
Plains,  163.  Alonzo  Delano  was  born  at  Aurora,  N.  Y. ,  July  2,  1806,  and  came 
to  Cal.  by  the  Lassen  route  in  1849,  and  of  his  journey  published  a  minute 
account.  After  working  in  the  placers  for  some  time  he  went  to  S.  F.  and 
opened  a  produce  store.  In  the  autumn  of  1851  he  engaged  in  quartz-mining 
at  Grass  Valley,  which  was  thenceforward  his  home.  A  year  or  two  later  he 
became  superintendent  of  the  Nevada  Company's  mill  and  mine,  and  then 
agent  of  Adams  &  Co.'s  express  and  banking  office.  In  Feb.  1855  he  opened 
a  banking-house  of  his  own.  In  his  position  of  agent  for  Adams  &  Co.  at 
Grass  Valley,  he  received  orders  to  pay  out  no  money  either  on  public  or  pri 
vate  deposits,  which  orders  he  did  not  obey;  but  calling  the  depositors  to 
gether,  he  read  his  instructions  and  said:  'Come,  men,  and  get  your  deposits; 
you  shall  have  what  is  yours  so  long  as  there  is  a  dollar  in  the  safe. '  Five 
days  later,  on  Feb.  20th,  Delano  opened  a  banking-house  of  his  own;  and  so 
great  was  the  confidence  placed  in  his  integrity  that  within  24  hours  he  re 
ceived  more  money  on  deposit  than  he  had  ever  held  as  agent  for  Adams  & 
Co.  From  that  time  on  he  led  a  successful  and  honored  career  as  a  banker 
until  the  day  of  his  death,  which  occurred  at  Grass  Valley  Sept.  8,  1874. 
For  further  particulars,  see  Grass  Valley  Foothill  Tidings,  Nov.  21,  1874; 
Grass  Valley  Union,  Sept.  10,  1874;  Truckee  Republican,  Sept.  10,  1874;  Sta 
Barbara  Index,  Sept.  24,  1874;  Portland  Bulletin,  Oct.  7,  1874;  S.  F.  Alt-i, 
Sept.  11,  1874.  But  it  was  as  an  author,  not  as  a  banker,  that  Delano  was 
best  known  to  the  early  Californians,  and,  by  one  of  his  books  at  least,  to  the 
wider  world.  This  work,  a  vol.  of  some  400  pages,  is  an  account  of  his  jour 
ney  overland  to  Cal.,  and  embodies  much  information  about  early  times  in 
Cal.,  especially  in  the  mining  regions  and  small  towns.  Its  title  is:  Life  on 
the  Plains  and  among  the  Diggings;  being  Scenes  and  Adventures  of  an  Over 
land  Journey  to  California:  with  Particular  Incidents  of  the  Route,  Mistakes 
and  Sufferings  of  the  Emigrants,  the  Indian  Tribes,  the  Present  and  the  Future 
of  the  Great  Wext.  Aulmrn,  1^4,  and  N.  Y.,  1861.  The  portion  relatingto  the 
journey  was  written  as  a  journal,  in  which  the  incidents  of  each  day,  the  kind 
of  country  passed  through,  and  the  probable  distance  accomplished  were 
noted.  What  does  not  relate  to  the  immigration  is  more  sketchy,  but  stiil 
valuable  and  accurate.  Although  Delano's  most  ambitious  book,  it  was  not 
his  first.  During  the  earlier  years  of  residence  in  his  adopted  country  he 
contributed  a  number  of  short  humorous  sketches  illustrative  of  Cal.  life 
to  the  various  periodicals.  These  fugitive  pieces  were  collected  and  pub- 


Rocky  Mountain  South  Pass  and  Humboldt  River, 
known  as  the  northern,  received  by  far  the  largest 
proportion  of  travel;  the  next  in  importance,  the 
southern,  led  from  Independence  by  the  caravan  trail 

_  _  *•  ** 

to  Santa  Fe,  thence  to  deviate  in  different  directions: 
by  the  old  Spanish  trail  round  the  north  banks  of  the 
Colorado,  crossing  Rio  Virgenes  to  Mojave  River  and 
desert,  and  through  Cajon  Pass  to  Los  Angeles;  by 
General  Kearny's  line  of  march  through  Arizona, 
along  the  Gila;  by  that  of  Colonel  Cooke  down  the  Rio 
Grande  and  westward  across  the  Sonora  table-land  to 
Yuma.  Others  passed  through  Texas,  Coahuila,  and 
Chihuahua  into  Arizona,  while  riot  a  few  went  by  sea 
to  Tampico  and  Vera  Cruz,  and  thence  across  the  con 
tinent  to  Mazatlan  or  other  Mexican  seaport  to  seek  a 
steamer  or  sailing  vessel,  or  even  through  Nicaragua, 
which  soon  sprang  into  prominence  as  a  rival  point  of 
transit  to  the  Isthmus.20  Snow  at  least  proving  no 

lished  at  Sacramento,  in  a  volume  of  112  pp.,  under  the  title  of  Penknife 
Sketches;  or  Chips  of  the.  Old  Block;  a  series  of  original  illustrated  letters,  writ 
ten  by  one  of  California's  pioneer  miners,  and  dedicated  to  that  class  of  her  cit 
izens  by  the  author.  Sac.,  1853.  A  second  edition,  sixteenth  thousand,  was 
published  in  1854,  price  one  dollar.  Like  the  cuts  designed  by  Charles  Nahl, 
which  ornament  this  book,  the  humor  of  the  author  is  of  a  rough  and  ready 
nature,  but  it  is  genial  and  withal  graphic.  The  Sketches  are  the  overflowing 
of  a  merry  heart,  which  no  hard  times  could  depress,  and  through  all  their 
burlesque  it  is  evident  that  the  writer  had  a  discerning  and  appreciative  eye 
for  the  many  strange  phases  which  his  new  life  presented.  More  famous 
humorists  have  arisen  in  California  since  the  time  of  Old  Block,  his  chosen 
nom  de  plume;  but  as  the  first  of  the  tribe,  so  he  was  the  most  faithful  in 
depicting  life  in  the  flush  times.  His  California  Sketch- Book  is  similar  in  na 
ture  to  the  Penknife  Sketches.  Besides  his  purely  humorous  pieces,  Delano 
wrote  a  number  of  tales  which  appeared  in  the  Hesperian  and  Ilutchinrjs1 
magazines,  as  well  as  some  plays,  which  it  is  said  were  put  upon  the  stage. 
See  the  Grass  Valley  Foothill  Tidings,  Nov.  21,  1874.  In  1868  he  published 
at  S.  F.  The  Central  Pacific,  or  '49  and  '69,  by  Old  Block,  a  pamphlet  of  24 
pp.,  comparing  the  modes  of  traversing  the  continent  at  the  two  dates  men 

20  The  new  Mexican  routes  have  received  full  attention  in  the  preceding 
volumes  of  this  series,  Hist.  CaL,  in  connection  with  Hispano-Mexican  inter 
course  between  New  Mexico  and  CaL,  with  trapper  roamings  and  the  march 
overland  of  U.  S.  troops  in  1846-7.  Taylor,  Eldorado,  131,  speaks  of  Yuma 
attacks  on  Arizona  passengers.  See  also  records  and  references  in  the  Alto, 
CaL,  June  25,  1850,  and  other  journals  and  dates,  as  in  a  preceding  note;  also 
Hayes1  Life,  MS.,  69  et  seq. ;  Id.,  in  Misc.  Hist.  Pup.,  doc.  27,  p.  35-6,  45, 
et  seq. ;  Hayes'  Emig.  Notes,  MS.,  415,  with  list  of  his  party;  Id.,  Diary,  MS., 
56;  Soule's'Stat.,  MS.,  1  etseq.;  Say  ward's  Slat.,  MS.,  2-5;  Perry's  Travels, 
14-69,  and  Woods'  Sixteen  Months,  3  et  seq.,  recording  troubles  and  exactions 
of  Mexican  trips  via  Mazatlan  and  San  Bias.  So  in  Overland,  xv.  241-8,  on 


material  obstruction  along  the  more  southerly  routes, 
a  fair  proportion  of  emigrants  from  the  United  States 
had  availed  themselves  of  the  outlet  for  an  earlier 
start,21  and  some  8, 000, entered  California  from  this 
quarter,  including  many  Hispano- Americans,  the  lat 
ter  pouring  in,  moreover,  throughout  the  winter 
months  by  way  of  Sonora  and  Chihuahua. 

The  number  of  gold-seekers  who  reached  California 
from  all  sources  during  the  year  1849  can  be  esti 
mated  only  approximately.  The  most  generally  ac 
cepted  statement,  by  a  committee  of  the  California 
constitutional  convention,  places  the  population  at 
the  close  of  1849  at  106,000,  which,  as  compared  with 
the  census  figure,  six  months  later,  of  about  112,000, 
exclusive  of  Indians,22  appears  excessive.  But  the 
census  was  taken  under  circumstances  not  favorable 
to  accuracy,  and  the  preceding  estimate  may  be  re 
garded  as  equally  near  the  truth,  although  some  of 
the  details  are  questionable.23 

the  San  Bias  route.  The  steamer  California  took  on  board  at  Acapulco,  in 
July  1849,  a  party  of  destitute  Americans,  assisted  by  the  passengers.  Santa 
Cruz  Times,  Feb.  26,  1870.  Rond6  met  five  unarmed  Frenchmen  hauling  a 
hand  wagon  through  Chihuahua.  Charton,  Tour  du  Hfonde,  iv.  160;  Southern 
Quart.  Rev. ,  x v.  224  et  seq.  In  Sherwood's  Guide,  57-8,  is  mentioned  a  fantastic 
balloon  route  by  the  'patent  aerial  steam  float'  of  R.  Porter,  to  carry  passen 
gers  at  $100,  including  board  and  a  precautionary  return  ticket;  the  trip  to 
be  made  in  four  or  five  days! 

21  The  fear  of  Mexican  hostility,  the  comparatively  inferior  knowledge  of 
this  route,  and  its  apparent  roundabout  turn  made  it  less  popular,  at  least 
north  of  the  southern  states. 

22  The  total  is  92,597  for  all  except  three  counties— Santa  Clara,  S.  F.,  and 
Contra  Costa,  the  returns  for  which  were  lost.    U.  S.  Seventh  Census,  966  et 
seq.     Comparison  with  the  state  census  of  1852  permits  an  estimate  for  these 
three  of  not  over  19,500,  whereof  16,500  were  for  S.  F.  town  and  county.    The 
Annals  of  S.  F.,  244,  assumes  20,000  or  even  25,000;  others  vary  between 
7,000  and  20,000  for  S.  F.  city  at  the  close  of  1849,  and  as  a  large  number  of 
miners  and  others  were   then  wintering  there,   the   population   must  have 
fallen  greatly  by  the  time  of  taking  the  census.     In  July  and  Aug.   1849 
the  city  had  only  5,000  or  6,000.     The  influx  by  sea  during  the  first  six 
months  of  1850  is  reported  by  the  S.   F.  custom-house  at  24,288,   whereof 
16,472  were  Americans.    U.  S.   Gov.  Doc.,  31st  cong.  1st  sess.,  H.  Ex.  Doc. 
16,  iv.  44-5.     By  deducting  this  figure  and  balancing  departures  with  the 
influx  from  Mexico  the  total  at  the  end  of  1849  would  be  nearly  90,000. 

23  For  instance,  the  population  at  the  end  of  1848  is  placed  by  the  com 
mittee  at  215,000,   of  whom   13,000  were  Californians,  8,000  Americans,  and 
5,000  foreigners.     I  estimate  from  the  archives  the  native  California!)  ele 
ment  at  little  over  7,500  at  the  same  period;  8,000  Americans  is  an  admis- 


I  prefer,  therefore,  to  place  the  number  of  white  in 
habitants  at  the  close  of  1849  at  riot  over  100,000, 
accepting  the  estimated  influx  by  sea  of  39,000,  of 
which  about  23,000  were  Americans,  and  42,000  over 
land,  of  which  9,000  were  from  Mexico,  8,000  coming 
through  New  Mexico,  and  25,000  by  way  of  the  South 
Pass  and  Humboldt  River.  Of  this  number  a  few 
thousand,  especially  Mexicans,  returned  the  same  year, 
leaving  a  population  that  approached  95, 000. r 


sible  figure,  including  the  Oregon  influx,  but  5,000  foreigners  is  somewhat 
excessive,  as  may  be  judged  from  my  notes  in  preceding  chapters  on  Mexican 
and  other  immigration.  Indians  are  evidently  excluded  in  all  estimates. 
The  other  figures  for  the  influx  during  1849  appear  near  enough.  They  may 
be  consulted  as  original  or  quoted  estimates,  among  other  works,  in  Mayer's 
Mex.  Aztec,  ii.  393;  Siillman's  Golden  Fleece,  32;  hitteWs  Hist.  S.  F.,  139-40. 
'•"About  half-way  between  the  federal  estimates  and  those  of  the  convention. 
The  tendency  of  the  latter  was  naturally  to  give  the  highest  reasonable  figures, 
and  the  wonder  is  that  it  did  not  swell  them  with  Indian  totals.  Such  ex 
citing  episodes  as  the  gold  rush  are  moreover  apt  to  produce  exaggeration 
everywhere.  Thus  a  widely  accepted  calculation,  as  reproduced  in  Cal.  Past 
and  Present,  146-7,  roaches  200,000,  based  on  Larkin's  report  of  46,000  ar 
rived  by  July  1849,  and  on  calculations  from  Laramie  of  56,000  passing  there. 
'A  still  larger  number'  came  by  sea,  say  100,000,  'all  Americans,'  so  that 
nearly  200,000  arrived,  and  in  1850  there  would  be  more  than  500,000  new 
arrivals  from  tho  U.  S. !  'Even  the  Report,  15,  of  the  govt  agent,  T.  B.  King, 
assumes  loosely  the  arrival  in  1849  of  80,000  Americans  and  20,000  foreigners. 
U.  S.  Gov.  Doc.,  31st  cong.  1st  sess.,  H.  Ex.  Doc.  59,  7.  And  Hittell,  Hint. 
S.  F.,  139—40,  155-6,  so  excessively  cautious  in  some  respects,  not  allowing 
over  8,000  inhabitants  to  S.  F.  in  Nov.  1849,  assigns  30,000  in  June  1850  to 
three  counties  lacking  in  the  census,  of  which  about  25,000  must  be  meant  for 
S.  F.,  and  so  reaches  a  total  of  122,000,  while  accepting  the  100,000  estimate 
for  1849.  Tho  investigations  of  J.  Coolidge  of  the  Merchants'  Exchange  in 
dicated  arrivals  at  S.  F.  from  March  31  to  Dec.  31,  1849,  of  30,675,  excluding 
deserters;  12,237  coming  from  U.  S.  ports  via  Cape  Horn,  6,000  via  Panama, 
2,600  via  San  Bias  and  Mazatlan,  the  rest  from  other  quarters.  Figures  in 
Niles*  Reg.,  Ixxxv.  113,  127,  288,  give  3,547  passengers  for  Chagres  by  April 
1849;  overland  influx,  adds  Sac.  Record,  Mar.  28,  1874,  'probably  exceeded 
that  by  sea  twofold.'  In  a  letter  to  the  St  Louis  Rep.  of  June  10,  1849,  from 
Fort  Kearny,  it  was  said  that  5,095  wagons  had  passed;  about  1,000  more 
left  behind,  and  many  turning  back  daily.  There  are  5,000  or  6,OuO  wagons 
on  the  way.  Alta  CaL,  Aug.  2,  1849.  See  also  Placer  Timi's,  May  26,  Oct.  13, 
1849,  etc.  Kirkpatrick,  Journal,  MS.,  14-16,  states,  on  the  other  hand,  that 
only  1,500  teams  were  supposed  to  be  on  the  road  between  Platte  ferry  and 
Cal.  during  the  latter  half  of  June.  The  Santa  Fe  and  South  Pass  arrivals 
embrace  some  Hispano- Americans  and  Oregonians.  For  further  speculations 
on  numbers  I  refer  to  Williams'  Rec.  Early  Days,  MS.,  10;  Barstow's  Stat., 
MS.,  13;  Abbey's  Trip,  5,  26,  56;  S.  F.  Directory,  1852-3,  10-11,  15;  Pioneer 
Arch.,  182-3;  Larkin's  Doc.,  MS.,  vi.  203;  Taylor**  Eldorado,  ii.  cap.  iv.; 
8imonin,  Grand  Quest,  290;  Janxsens,  Vida  y  Av.,  MS.,  209-10;  Annals  S.  F. 
133,  244,  356,  484;  Polynesian,  vi.  74,  86-7;  Sac.  Directory,  1871,  36;  Niks' 
Reg.,  Ixxv.  113,  127,  288,  320,  348,  383;  Home  Miss.,  xxii.  44;  S.  F.  Pac. 
News,  Dec.  22,  27,  1849;  Apr.  30;  May  2,  8,  21,  24,  1850;  Alta  CaL,  July  2, 
Dec.  15,  1849;  May  24,  1850;  S.  F.  Hernld,  Nov.  15,  1850;  Jan.  21,  1854; 
Boston  Traveler,  March  18,30;  St  Louis  Anzeiger,  Apr.  1850;  S.  F.  Bulletin, 


The  advance  parties  of  the  Rocky  Mountain  migra 
tion  began  to  arrive  in  the  Sacramento  Valley  toward 
the  end  of  July,  after  which  a  steady  stream  came 
pouring  in.  They  were  bewildered  and  unsettled  for 
a  while  under  the  novelty  of  their  surroundings,  for 
the  rough  flimsy  camps  and  upturned,  debris-strewn 
river  banks,  as  if  convulsed  by  nature,  accorded  little 
with  the  pictured  paradise;  but  kind  greeting  and  aid 
came  from  all  sides  to  light  up  their  haggard  faces, 
and  before  the  prospect  of  unfolding  riches  all  past 
toil  and  danger  faded  like  a  gloomy  dream.  Even 
the  cattle,  broken  in  spirit,  felt  the  reviving  influence 
of  the  goal  attained.25  To  many  the  visions  of  wealth 
which  began  anew  to  haunt  their  fancy  proved  only  a 
reflection  of  the  lately  mocking  mirages  of  the  desert, 
till  sober  thought  and  strength  came  to  reveal  other 
fields  of  labor,  whence  they  might  wrest  more  surely 
though  slowly  the  fortune  withheld  by  fickle  chance. 
And  here  the  overland  immigrants  as  a  mass  had  the 
advantage,  coming  as  they  did  from  the  small  towns, 
the  villages,  and  the  farms  of  the  interior,  or  from  the 
young  settlements  on  the  western  frontier.  Accus 
tomed  to  a  rugged  and  simple  life,  they  craved  less  for 
excitement;  arid  honest,  industrious,  thrifty,  and  self- 
reliant,  they  could  readily  fall  back  upon  familiar  toil 
and  find  a  potent  ally  in  the  soil.  A  large  propor 
tion,  indeed,  had  come  to  cast  their  lot  in  a  western 
home.  The  emigrants  by  sea,  on  the  other  hand, 
speaking  broadly  and  with  all  due  regard  to  exceptions, 
were  pioneers  not  so  natural  and  befitting  to  an  en- 
Apr.  6,  1868.  Arrivals  in  1850  will  be  considered  later  in  connection  with 

"Among  the  first  comers  was  '  Jas  S.  Thomas  from  Platte  City.'  Burnett's 
Rec.,  MS.,  ii.  127.  'The  first  party  of  packers  reached  Sac.  about  July  18th; 
four  wagons  were  there  in  Pleasant  Valley,  100  miles  above.'  Alta  Cat.,  Ang. 
2,  1849.  The  hungry  and  sick  received  every  care,  despite  the  absorbing 
occupation  of  all  and  the  high  cost  of  food.  Sutter  aided  hundreds.  Used 
to  open-air  camping,  many  could  not  endure  sleeping  in  a  house  for'a  long 
time.  McCall,  Great  Ccd.  Trail,  1-85,  left  St  Joseph  May  5th;  reached  Ft 
Kearny  May  29th;  Ft  Laramie  June  18th;  Green  River  July  10th;  Hum- 
boldt  River  Aug.  10th;  Truckee  River  Aug.  29th;  and  coming  down  by 
Johnson's  Ranch,  arrived  at  Sutter's  Sept.  7th. 


tirely  new  country.  They  embraced  more  of  the 
abnormal  and  ephemeral,  and  a  great  deal  of  the 
criminal  and  vicious,  in  early  California  life.  They 
might  build  cities  and  organize  society,  but  there 
were  those  among  them  who  made  the  cities  hot 
beds  of  vice  and  corruption,  and  converted  the 
social  fabric  into  a  body  nondescript,  at  the  sight 
of  which  the  rest  of  the  world  stood  wrapped  in 

26  Additional  authorities:  U.  S.  Govt  Docs,  30  Cong.  1  Sess.,  H.  Ex.  Doc. 
1,  p.  32;  Id.,  30  Cong.  2  Sess.,  U.  S.  Acts  and  Resol.  1-155;  Id.,  31  Cong. 
1  Sess.,  H.  Ex.  Doc.  5,  pt.  i.,  224,  429-33;  H.  Ex.  Doc.  17,  passim;  H.  Ex. 
Doc.  52,  xiii.  94-154;  H.  Ex.  Doc.  59,  7,  26;  Id.,  31  Cong.  2  Sess.,  H.  Ex. 
Doc.  1,  p.  77,  208;  Sen.  Doc.  19,  iii.  12-15;  Id.,  32  Cong.  1  Sess.,  Sen.  Doc. 
50,  passim;  Sen.  Doc.  124,  pp.  1-222;  Mess,  and  Docs,  1847-8,  ii.  955-G; 
WiUces  Exp.,  v.  181;  Velasco,  Notic.  Son.,  289,  320-33;  Simonin,  Grand 
Ouest,  290  et  seq.;  Shermans  Mem.,  i.  passim;  Larkin's  Docs,  iii.  215;  vi.  74, 
111,  116,  128,  130,  132,  144,  173,  178,  180,  185,  198,  203,  219;  vii.  24,  94; 
Manrows  Vig.  Committee,  MS.,  1-67;  Hayes1  Life,  MS.,  69-70;  Id.,  Diary, 
passim;  Id.,  Scraps  Ariz.,  v.  29;  Id.,  Scraps  L.  Aug.,  i.  205;  Id.,  Miscel.  Hist. 
Papers,  doc.  27;  Id.,  Coll.  Mining  Cat,  i.  1;  Id.,  Coll.  Mining,  v.  3-12.  85; 
Id.,  Gal.  Notes,  i.  101;  iii.  153;  v.  16,  20,  85;  Williams'  Stit.,  MS.,  1-3,  6-12; 
Yreka  Journal,  Feb.  18,  1874;  Janssens  Vida  y  Avent.,  209-10;  Kunzel,  O',er- 
califonden;  Bigler's  Diary  of  a  Mormon,  56-79,  91;  Bu/um's  Six  Montlis,  68-9, 
111-22,  156;  Burnett's  Recoil.,  MS.,  passim;  Carson's  Early  Recoil.;  Gillespie's 
Vig.  Com.,  MS.,  3-4;  Hitchcock's  Stat.,  MS.,  1-7;  Annals  S.  F.,  passim; 
Beadle's  West.  WMs,  38^0;  Blu.come's  Vig.  Com.,  MS.,  1-2;  Connors  Early 
CaL,  MS.,  1-5;  Cerruti's  Ramblings,  66-7,  94  et  seq.;  Mollien's  Travels  Col., 
409-13;  Robinson's  CaL  Gold  Region,  passim;  Stillman's  Golden  Fleece,  19-32, 
327-52;  Stuart's  Trip  to  CaL,  2-3;  Tyson's  Geol.  of  CaL,  84;  Bolton  vs  U.  S., 
app  88-95;  Kirkpatrick's  Journal,  MS.,  3-16;  Jenkins'  U.  S.  Ex.  Exped., 
431-2;  The  Friend,  Honolulu,  vii.  21;  viii.  28;  Kanesville,  la,  Front  Guard, 
July  25,  1849;  Petaluma  Argus,  Apr.  4,  1873;  Pan.  Star,  Feb.  24,  1849; 
Ryckman's,  MS.,  11,  20;  Estrella  de  Ocad.,  Nov.  16,  1860;  Retes,  Por- 
tentosas  Riq.  Min.;  Sac.  Direct.,  1871,  36;  Abbey's  Trip  across  Plains,  5,  26, 
5o;  Alger's  Young  Advent.,  185-293;  Brooks"  Four  Months,  passim;  Bracket's 
U.  S.  Cdv.,  125-7;  S.  F.  Argonaut,  passim;  Revere's  Tour  of  Duty,  254-6; 
A/.,  Keel  ami  Saddle,  151-4;  S.  F.  Whig  and  Advert.,  June  11,  1853;  Treasury 
ofTrav.,  92^;  Truckee  Tribune,  Jan.  8,  1870;  Revue  des  deux  Mondes,  Feb.  1, 
1849;  Broivne's  Min.  Res.,  14-15;  Arch.  Mont.  Co.,  xiv.  18;  Arch.  Sta  Cruz 
Co.,  107;  Fay's  Hist.  Facts,  MS.;  Dwinelle's  Add.,  104-12;  Doc.  Hist.  CaL,  i. 
505;  Diggers  Hand  Book,  45-53;  Henshaw's  Stat.,  MS.;  Helper's  Land  of  Gold, 
101;  Bortku'ick'sStat.,MS.,2-5',  Browns  Early  DaijsofCaL,  MS.,  1-7;  Boyn- 
ton's  Stat.,  MS.,  1;  Cod  mans  The  Round  Trip,  28;  Tiffany's  Pocket  Exch.  Guide, 
16;  Gilroy  Advocate,  Apr.  24,  1875;  Folsom  Telegraph,  Sept.  17,  1871;  Ferry, 
CaL,  105-6,  306-28;  Colusa  Sun,  March  8,  1873;  Bryant's  What  I  Saw  in  CaL, 
i.  142-3;  Ashley's  Docs  Hist.  CaL,  223,  271-396;  Antiock  Ledger,  Dec.  24, 
1870;  July  1,  1876;  Tuthill's  CaL,  234;  Thornton's  Oregon  and  CaL,  270;  Gold 
Hill  Daily  News,  Apr.  16,  1872;  Coke's  Ride,  156,  166;  FindkCs  Stat.,  MS., 
passim;  Dowell's  Letters,  MS.,  1-34;  Duncan's  Soutfiern  Oregon,  MS.,  1-2; 
l^uigley's  Irish  Race;  Grass  Valley  Repub.,  March  8,  1872;  Cronise's  Nat. 
Wealth,  56-7;  Roach's  Stat.,  MS.,  1-2;  Del  Mar's  Hist.  Precious  Met.,  258  et 
seq.;  Dameron's  Autobiog.,  MS.,  19;  Taylor's  Betw.  Gates,  25-30,  61-7,  131; 
Id.,  El  Dorado,  i.  26-9,  48;  ii.  36,  222-3;  Van  Allen,  in  Mixel.  Stat.,  31;  Van- 
HIST.  CAL.,  VOL.  VI.  11 


derbilt,  in  Miscel  Stat.,  1,  32-3;  Wheaton's  Stat.,  MS.,  2-3;  Charton,  Tour  du 
Monde,  iv.  1(50;  Barnes'  Or.  and  Cal,  MS.,  19,  26;  Weik,  Cal  ^v^e  es  ist,  29- 
51;  Du  Hailly,  in  Rev.  des  deux  Mondes,  Feb.  15,  1849;  Barrow's  Twelve 
Nights,  165-268;  Vallejo  Recorder,  March  14,  1868;  Oct.  12,  1869;  Woods' 
Sixteen  Mont/is,  passim;  Dunbar's  Romance,  48,  55-89,  102-6;  Ware's  Emig. 
Guide,  1-55;  Alameda  Co.  Hist.  Atlas,  14;  Valle,  Doc.,  58;  Cal.  Past  and 
Present,  77,  146-7;  Castroville  Argus,  June  12,  19,  1875;  Robinson's  Stat.,  MS., 
23-4;  Willey's  Pers.  Mem.,  MS.,  25,  58-75,  111-18;  Rons'  Stat.,  MS.,  1-12; 
Ryan's  Pers.  Adv.,  ii.  273-5;  /(/.,  Judges  and  Grim.,  72-9;  Pion.  Mag.,  iv. 
380;  Oli/mpia  Transcript,  June  17,  1876;  Dept.  St.  P.  (Ang.),  viii.  6,  16; 
Dean's  Stat.,  MS.,  1-2;  Kane,  in  Miscel.  Stat.,  7-11;  Humboldt  Times,  March 

7,  1874;  Schlagentiveit,   Cal.,   216;    Winans'  Stat.,  MS.,  1-5,   23-4;   Lake  Co. 
Bee,  March  8,  18/3;  Napa  Reg.,  Aug.  1,  1874;  McClellan's  Golden  State,  119- 
46;  Barry's   Up  and  Down,  93-7;  Schmiedell's  Stat.,  MS.,  6;    Walton's  Facts 
from  Gold  Regions,  8,  19-32;  Crosby's  Events  in  Cal.,  MS.,  13-26;  Santa  Cruz 
Times,  Feb.  19,  26,  1870;  8.  F.  Times,  July  20,  1867;  Shearer's  Journal,  MS., 
1-3,  11;    Warren's  Dust  and  Foam,  12-14,  133,  153-6;    West  Coast  Signal,  Apr. 
15,  1874;  Nev.  Co.  Hist.,  41,  45;  Merrill's  Stat.,  MS.,  1-3;  Alameda  Co.  Gaz., 
March  8,  1873;  March  14,  1874;  Jan.  9,  May  29,  1875;  Barstow's  Stat.,  MS., 
1-4,   14;  St  Louis  Union,  May  25,   1849;  Cassin's  A   Few  Facts,   1-5,   17-18; 
Dool'Mle's  Stat.,  1-22;  Morgan's  Trip  across  the  Plains,  1-21;  Carver's  Travel*, 
122;  Cal.  Pioneers,  Docs,  passim;    Wilmington  Enterprise,  Jan.  21,  1875;  Say- 
board's  Pers.  Rem.,  MS.,  2;  San  Jose  Argus,  Oct.  16,   1875;  Stockton  Indep., 
Nov.    1,  1873;  Apr.  4,  1874;  Jan.   30,  Oct.  19,   1875;  Low's  Stat.,   MS.,  1-5; 
MassetCs  Exper.  of  a  '49er,  1-10;  Sand.  Islands  News,  ii.  134,  147,  158.  186; 
Hawleti's  Observ.,  MS.,  1-3;  Sta  Cruz  Sentinel,  July,  15,  1875;    Vandykes' Stat., 
MS.,    1-2,   etc.;  Soule's  Stat.,  MS.,  1-2;    Vallejo  D.  Indep.,  June  1-8,   1872; 
Staples'  Stat.,  MS.;  Neall's   Vig.   Com.,  MS.,  3,   22-4;  Coleman's  Vig.  Com., 
MS.,   175-83;  Matthewson's  Stat.,  MS.,   1;  Swan's   Trip,    1-3,  13;  Lord's  B. 
Col.  Naturalist,  271;  Cent.  Amer.  Miscel.  Docs,  44;  Delano's  Life  on  the  Plains, 
passim;  Home  Miss.,  xxii.  44,   185-6;  So»ora  Book,  iv.   174,  in  Pinart,  Coll.; 
Sherwood's  Pocket  Guide  to  Gal,  27,  47-64;  Sac.  Union,  Jan.  23,  26,  Feb.  13, 
Dec.  30,  1856,  etc.;  Solano  Repub.,  Sept.  29,  1870;  8.  F.  Evg  Post,  July  14, 
1877;  Nev.  D.  Gaz.,  June  9,   1866;  Jan.  20,  22,   1868;  Leavitfs  Scrap  Book; 
Little's  Stat.,  MS.,  l^t;  Cerruti's  Rambl'mgs,  46;  Holinski,  La  Cal,  144;    Vallejo 
Chron.,  July  25,  Oct.   10,   1874;  San  Jose  Mercury,  Apr.  28,   1876;  Cronine's 
Nat.    Wealth,  57;   Id.,  Stat.,  MS.,   1;  S niton's  Early  Exper.,  MS.,   1;  South. 
Quart.  Rev.,  xv.  224;  Melbourne  Mg  Herald,  Feb.  6,  7,  10,  1849;  Stockton  D. 
Herald,  May  18,  1871;  Nevada  City  and  Grass  Valley  D'tr.,  1856,  43;  L.  Ang. 
Repub.,  Feb.  28,  March    14,   May  18,   1878;  Cal,  Adv.   Capt.   Wife,   18,  20, 
41-2;   Sac.   Transcript,  Oct.   15,   1850;    Feb.   1,   1851;   Overland  Monthly,  ix. 
12-13;  xii.  343;  xv.  241-8;  8.  F.  Cal.  Star,  Oct.  1847  to  June  1848,  passim; 

8.  F.  Evg  Post,  Aug.  8,  1883;  Mayer's  Mex.  Azt.,  ii.  393;  Slater's  Mormon- 
ism,  5-12,  87;  Pfei/ers  Sec.  Journ.,  290;  Soc.  Mex.  Geog.,  xi.    127-34;  San 
Diego  Union,  July  22,   1874;  S.  F.  Evening  Picayune,  Aug.   30,   Sept.  4,    12, 
Oct.  5,  Nov.  27,  Dec.   18,  1850;  Scherzer's  Narr.,  iii.  425-30;  Oakland  A  lam. 
Co.  Gaz.,  May  29,  1875;  Oakland  Transcript,  Aug.   7,   1872;  March  1,  1873; 
June  16,  1876;  8.  F.  Pat.  News,  Nov.  1849  to  Dec.  1850,  passim;  S.  F.  Bulle 
tin,  Apr.  9,  May  12,  31,  July  29,  Dec.  2,  1858;  Jan.  31,  Feb.  12,  Apr.  29,  30, 
May  25,  June  2,  3,  Aug.  15,  Sept.  18,  30,  Oct.  29,  1859;  March  1,  29,  1860; 
Aug.  21,  1862,  etc.;  Pion.  Arch.,  passim;  Pearsons  Recoil.,  MS.,  1-2;  Preble's 
Hist.  Steam  Navig.,  321-4;  S.  F.  Daily  Herald,  June  1850  to  Feb.  1851,  pas 
sim;  Solano  Co.  Hist.,  65-6,  154,  3(38-9,  451;  San  Jose  Pioneer,  Jan.  27,  Feb. 
24,  Aug.  4,  Dec.  8,  29,   1877;  Oct.  9,  1880;   Pio  Pico,   Ti^es,  MS.,  141-6; 
Hunt's  Merch.  Mag.,  xviii.  467-76;  xx.  55-64;  xxi.  585-6;  xxxii.  354-5;  Par 
son's  Life  of  Marshall,  passim;  Californian,  1847-8,  passim;  McCollum's  Cal. 
as  I  Saw  It,  17,  25-6;  Perry's  Travels,  14-69;  First  Steamship  Pioneers,  pas 
sim;  Polynesian,  v.  and  vi.,  passim;  vii.  18,  62,  131;  Shuck's  Scrap  Book,  83-4; 
Moore's  Pion.  Exper.,   MS.,    1;   Id.,   Recoil,   of  Early  Dans,    MS.,  2;  Shasta 
Courier,  Nov.  18,  1865;  March  16,  1867;  Placer  Times,  Apr.  28,  May  19,  26, 


June  2,  Aug.  11,  Sept.  15,  Oct.  13,  Dec.  1,  1849;  May  22,  1850;  S.  F.  Direc 
tory,  1852  (Parker),  10;  Id.,  1852-3,  10-14;  Sac.  Hee,  Dec.  7,  1869;  Nov.  21, 
1871;  March  28,  Aug.  27,  1874;  July  7,  1875;  Nov.  26,  1878;  S.  F.  Cal. 
Courier,  1850-1,  passim;  S.  F.  Alta  Cal.,  1849-75,  passim;  hUtelftt  Cal., 
124-5;  Id.,  Mining,  17;  Id.,  S.  F.,  125-56,  etc.;  Id.,  Hand  Book,  12-18;  El 
Sonoreme,  Feb.  21,  March  21,  30,  Apr.  18,  26,  May  11,  1849;  Vallcjo,  Col 
Doc.  Hint.  Cal,  xii.  344;  xxxv.  47,  148,  192;  xxxvi.  287;  Nile*  Reg.,  Ixxiv. 
257,  336-7;  Ixxv.  69-70,  113,  127,  288,  320,  348,  383. 




MANY  cities  owe  their  origin  to  accident;  some  to 
design.  In  the  latter  category  may  be  placed  most  of 
those  that  sprang  up  upon  this  western  earth's  end, 
and  notably  San  Francisco.  When  the  Englishman 
Richardson  moved  over  from  Sauzalito  to  Yerba 
Buena  Cove  in  the  summer  of  1835,  and  cleared  a 
place  in  the  chaparral  for  his  trading-tent;  when  the 
American  Jacob  P.  Leese  came  up  from  Los  An 
geles,  and  in  connection  with  his  friends  of  Monterey, 
William  Hinckley  and  Nathan  Spear,  erected  a  sub 
stantial  frame  building  and  established  a  commercial 
house  there  in  the  summer  of  1836 — it  would  appear 
that  these  representatives  of  the  two  foremost  nations 
of  the  world,  after  mature  deliberation,  had  set  out  to 
lay  the  foundation  of  a  west-coast  metropolis.  The 
opening  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company  branch  estab 
lishment  in  1841  added  importance  to  the  hamlet. 
Although  founded  on  the  soil  and  under  the  colors  of 
Andhuac,  it  never  was  a  Mexican  settlement,  for  the 
United  States  element  ever  predominated,  until  the 

( 164  ) 


spirit  of  '7G  took  formal  possession  under  symbol  of  the 
American  flag,  wafted  hither  over  subdued  domains. 
The  inducements  for  selecting  the  site  lay  in  its 
proximity  to  the  outlet  of  the  leading  harbor1  upon 
the  coast,  a  harbor  to  which  so  many  huge  rivers  and 
rich  valleys  were  tributary,  and  to  which  so  many 
land  routes  must  necessarily  converge.  A  position  so 
commanding  led  to  the  establishment  here  of  a  pre 
sidio  immediately  after  the  occupation  of  the  country, 
under  whose  wings  sprang  up  a  flourishing  mission 
establishment.  The  harbor  commended  itself  early  to 
passing  vessels,  and  although  finding  Sauzalito  on  the 
northern  shore  the  best  station  for  water  and  wood, 
they  were  obliged  to  come  under  cognizance  of  the 
military  authorities  at  the  fort,  and  to  seek  the  more 
substantial  supplies  at  the  mission,  both  establish 
ments  presenting,  moreover,  to  trading  vessels,  in 
their  not  inconsiderable  population,  and  as  the  abutting 
points  for  the  settlements  southward,  an  all-important 
attraction.  These  primary  advantages  outweighed 
greatly  such  drawbacks  as  poor  landing-places,  lack 
of  water  sources  and  farming  land  in  the  vicinity,  and 
the  growing  inconvenience  of  communication  with  the 
main  settlements  now  rising  in  the  interior.  The  op 
portune  strategy  of  Alcalde  Bartlett  in  setting  aside 
the  name  of  Yerba  Buena,  which  threatened  to  over 
shadow  its  prospects,  and  restoring  that  of  Saint  Fran 
cis,  proved  of  value  in  checking  the  aspirations  of 
Erancisca,  later  called  Benicia.  And  our  seraphic 
father  of  Assisi  remembered  the  honor,  by  directing  to 
its  shore  the  vast  fleet  of  vessels  which  in  1849  began 
to  empty  here  their  myriads  of  passengers  and  cargoes 
of  merchandise.  This  turned  the  scale,  and  with  such 
start,  and  the  possession  of  capital  and  fame,  the  town 
distanced  every  rival,  Benicia  with  all  her  superior 
natural  advantages  falling  far  behind. 

1  Opinions  upon  its  merits  have  been  expressed  by  many  prominent  ex 
plorers.  Gen.  Smith  strongly  disparaged  the  site  from  a  military  and  com 
mercial  point  of  view,  while  becoming  enthusiastic  over  the  advantages  of 


Nevertheless,  doubters  became  numerous  with  every 
periodic  depression  in  business;2  and  when  the  gold 
excitement  carried  off  most  of  the  population,3  the 
stanchest  quailed,  and  the  rival  city  at  the  straits,  so 
much  nearer  to  the  mines,  seemed  to  exult  in  pro 
spective  triumph.  But  the  golden  storm  proved 
menacing  only  in  aspect.  During  the  autumn  the 
inhabitants  came  flocking  back  again,  in  numbers 
daily  increased  by  new  arrivals,  and  rich  in  funds 
wherewith  to  give  vitality  to  the  town.  Building 
operations  were  actively  resumed,  notwithstanding 
the  cost  of  labor,4  and  real  estate,  which  lately  could 
not  have  found  buyers  at  any  price,  now  rose  with  a 
bound  to  many  times  its  former  value.5  The  opening 
of  the  first  wharf  for  sea-going  vessels,  the  Broadway,6 
may  be  regarded  as  the  beginning  of  a  revival,  marked 
also  by  the  resurrection  of  the  defunct  press,7  and  the 
establishment  of  a  school,  and  of  regular  protestant 
worship,8  propitiatory  measures  well  needed  in  face  of 

2  As  early  in  1848,  when  several  firms  discontinued  their  advertisements 
in  the  Californian.     Others  thought  it  expedient,  as  we  have  seen,  to  seek  a 
prop  for  the  prevailing  land  and  other  speculations,  by  bringing  the  resources 
of  the  country  and  the  importance  of  the  town  before  the  people  of  the  east 
ern  states.     This  was  done  by  the  pen  of  Fourgeaud  in  the  Cal.  Star,  Mar. 
18,  1848,  and  following  numbers. 

3  The  absorbing  municipal  election  of  Oct.   3d  showed  only   158  votes. 
Annals  S.  F.,  206.     See  chapter  i.  in  this  vol.  on  condition  in  Jan.,  and  chap 
ter  iv.  on  exodus. 

4  Tenfold  higher  than  in  the  spring.     Effects  stood  in  proportion.     Eggs 
$12  a  dozen;  Hawaiian  onions  and  potatoes  $1.50  a  Ib.j  shovels  $10  each,  etc. 
The  arrival  of  supplies  lowered  prices  till  flour  sold  at  from  $12  to  $15  a  bar 
rel  in  Dec.  Star  and  Cat.,  Dec.  1848;  Bu/ums  Six  Montlis,  23. 

5  For  spring  prices,  see  preceding  volume,  v.  652-4.     A  strong  influence 
was  felt  by  the  arrival  in  Sept.  of  the  brig  Belfast  from  New  York,  whose 
cargo  served  to  lower  the  price  of  merchandise,  but  whose  inauguration  of 
the  Broadway  wharf  as  a  direct  discharging  point  inspired  hope  among  the 
townsfolk.     Real  estate  rose  50  per  cent  near  the  harbor;  a  lot  vainly  offered 
for  $5,000  one  day,  'sold  readily  the  next  for  $10,000.'  S.  F.  Directory,  1852, 
9.     By  Nov.  the  prices  had  advanced  tenfold  upon  those  ruling  in  the  spring, 
and  rents  rose  from  $10  and  $20  to  $20  and  $100  per  month.     To  returning 
lot-holders  this  proved  another  mine,  but  others  complained  of  the  rise  as  a 
drawback  to  settlement.   Gillespie,  in  Larkins  Doc.,  MS.,  vi.  52,  66;  EarlCs 
Stat.,  MS.,  10. 

6  For  earlier  progress  of  wharves,  see  preceding  vol.,  v.  655,  679> 

7  The  Californian  had  maintained  a  spasmodic  existence  for  a  time  till 
bought  by  the  Cal.  Star,  which  on  Nov.  18th  reappeared  under  the  combined 
title,  Star  and  Californian,  after  five  months'  suspension.     In  Jan.  1849  it  ap 
pears  as  the  A  Ua  California^  weekly. 

8  Rev.  T.  D.  Hunt,  invited  from  Honolulu,   was  chosen  chaplain  to  the 


the  increased  relapse  into  political  obliquity  and  dis 
sipation,  to  be  expected  from  a  population  exuberant 
with  sudden  affluence  after  long  privation.9 

Yet  this  period  was  but  a  dull  hibernation  of  expect 
ant  recuperation  for  renewed  toil,10  as  compared  with 
the  following  seasons.  The  awakening  came  at  the 
close  of  February  with  the  arrival  of  the  first  steam 
ship,  the  California,  bearing  the  new  military  chief, 
General  Persifer  F.  Smith,  and  the  first  instalment  of 
gold-seekers  from  the  United  States.  Then  vessel 
followed  vessel,  at  first  singly,  but  erelong  the  hori 
zon  beyond  the  Golden  Gate  was  white  with  approach 
ing  sails ;  and  soon  the  anchorage  before  Yerba  Buena 
Cove,  hitherto  a  glassy  expanse  ruffled  only  by  the 
tide  and  breeze,  and  by  some  rare  visitor,  was  thickly 
studded  with  dark  hulks,  presenting  a  forest  of  masts, 
and  bearing  the  symbol  and  stamp  of  different  countries, 
the  American  predominating.  By  the  middle  of  No 
vember  upward  of  six  hundred  vessels  had  entered 
the  harbor,  and  in  the  following  year  came  still  more.11 
The  larger  proportion  were  left  to  swing  at  anchor  in 
the  bay,  almost  without  guard — at  one  time  more 
than  500  could  be  counted — for  the  crews,  possessed 
no  less  than  the  passengers  by  the  gold  fever,  rushed 
away  at  once,  carrying  off  the  ship  boats,  and  caring 
little  for  the  pay  due  them,  and  still  less  for  the  dilemma 
of  the  consignees  or  captain.  The  helpless  commander 
frequently  joined  in  the  flight.12  So  high  was  the  cost 
of  labor,  and  so  glutted  the  market  at  times  with  cer 
tain  goods,  that  in  some  instances  it  did  not  pay  to 

citizens,  with  $2,500  a  year.  Services  at  schpol-house  on  Portsmouth  square. 
Annals  8.  F.,  207. 

9  There  were  now  general  as  well  as  local  elections,  particulars  of  which 
are  given  elsewhere. 

ltf  As  spring  approached,  attention  centred  on  preparations,  with  impatient 
waiting  for  opportunities  to  start  for  the  mines.  Hence  the  statement  may 
not  be  wrong  that  'most  of  the  people  of  the  city  at  that  time  had  a  cadav 
erous  appearance, ....  a  drowsy  listlessness  seemed  to  characterize  the  masses 
of  the  community. '  First  Steamship  Pioneers,  366. 

11  As  will  be  shown  in  the  chapter  on  commerce. 

12  Taylor  instances  a  case  where  the  sailors  coolly  rowed  off  under  the  fire 
of  the  government  vessels.  El  Dorado,  i.  54.     Merchants,  had. to  .take  care.of 
many  abandoned  vessels.  Fay's  Facta,  MS.,  1-2. 


unload  the  cargo.  Many  vessels  were  left  to  rot,  or 
to  be  beached  for  conversion  into  stores  and  lodging- 
houses.13  The  disappointments  and  hardships  of  the 
mines  brought  many  penitents  back  in  the  autumn,  so 
as  to  permit  the  engagement  of  crews. 

Of  40,000  and  more  persons  arriving  in  the  bay, 
the  greater  proportion  had  to  stop  at  San  Francisco  to 
arrange  for  proceeding  inland,  while  a  certain  number 
of  traders,  artisans,  and  others  concluded  to  remain  in 
the  city,  whose  population  thus  rose  from  2,000  in  Feb 
ruary  to  6,000  in  August,  after  which  the  figure  began 
to  swell  under  the  return  current  of  wintering  or  sati 
ated  miners,  until  it  reached  about  20,000.14 

To  the  inflowing  gold-seekers  the  aspect  of  the 
famed  El  Dorado  city  could  not  have  been  very  in 
spiring,  with  its  straggling  medley  of  low  dingy  adobes 
of  a  by-gone  day,  and  frail  wooden  shanties  born  in  an 

13  By  cutting  holes  for  doors  and  windows  and  adding  a  roof.     Merrill, 
Stat.,  MS.,  2-4,  instances  the  well-known  Niantlc  and  Gen.  Harrison.     Lar- 
kin,  in  Doc.  Hist.  CaL,  vii.  288,  locates  the  former  at  N.  w.  corner  Sansome 
and  Clay,  and  the  latter  (owned  by  E.  Mickle  &  Co.)  at  N.  w.  corner  Bat 
tery  and  Clay.     He  further  places  the  Apollo  storeship,  at  N.  w.  corner  Sacra 
mento  and  Battery,  and  the  Georgean  between  Jackson  and  Washington,  west 
of  Battery  st.     Many  sunk  at  their  moorings.     As   late  as  Jan.   1857  old 
hulks  still  obstructed  the  harbor,  while  still  others  had  been  overtaken  by  the 
bayward  march  of  the  city  front,  and  formed  basements  or  cellars  to  tene 
ments  built  on  their  decks.     Even  now,  remains  of  vessels  are  found  under 
the  filled  foundations  of  houses.     Energetic  proceedings  of  the  harbor-master 
finally  cleared  the  channel.     This  work  began  already  in  1850.     Chas  Hare 
made  a  regular  business  of  taking  the  vessels  to  pieces;  and  soon  the  observ 
ant  Chinese  saw  the  profits  to  be  made,  and  applied  their  patient  energy 
to  the  work.     Among  the  sepulchred  vessels  I  may  mention  the  Cadmus, 
which  carried  Lafayette  to  America  in  1824;  the  Plover,  which  sailed  the  Arctic 
in  search  of  Franklin;  the  Regulus,  Alceste,  Thames,  Neptune,  Golconda,  Mersey, 
Caroline  Augusta,  Dianthe,  Genetta  deGoito,  Candace,  Copiapo,  Talca,  Bay  State, 
and  others. 

14  It  is  placed  at  3,000  in  March,  5,000  in  July,  and  from  12,000  to  15,000  in 
Oct.,  the  latter  by  Taylor,  Eldorado,  205,  and  a  writer  in  Home  Miss.,  xxiii. 
208.     Some  even  assume  30,000  at  the  end  of  1849.     In  the  spring  the  cur 
rent  set  in  for  the  mines,  leaving  a  small  population  for  the  summer.     The 
first  directory,  of  Sept.  1850,  contained  2,500  names,  and  the  votes  cast  in 
Oct.  reached  3,440.  Sac.  Transcript,  Oct.  14,  1850.     Hittell,  S.  F.,  147-8,  as 
sumes  not  over  8,000  in  Nov.  1849,  on  the  strength  of  the  vote  then  cast  of 
2,056,  while  allowing  about  25,000  in  another  place  for  Dec.  The  Annals  S.  F.y 

.219,  .226,  244,  insists  upon  at  least  20,000,  probably  nearer  25,000.  There  are 
other  estimates  in  Mayne's  B.  Col.  157.  The  figures  differ  in  Crosby's  Events, 
MS.,  12;  Williams  Stat.,  MS.,  3;  Greens  Life,  MS.,  19;  Burnett's  Recol .  MS., 
ii.  36;  Bartktt's  Stat.,  MS.,  3. 



The  (-raded  sha^mg  indicates  the  rel- 
A.  ative  density  of  occupation  in   the  b<uines« 

«na  leading  re«idence  «^ctlon» 



afternoon,  with  a  sprinkling  of  more  respectable  frame 
houses,  and  a  mass  of  canvas  and  rubber  habitations. 
The  latter  crept  outward  from  the  centre  to  form  a 
flapping  camp-like  suburb  around  the  myriad  of  sand 
hills  withered  by  rainless  summer,  their  dreariness 
scantily  relieved  by  patches  of  chaparral  and  sage 
brush,  diminutive  oak  and  stunted  laurel,  upon  which 
the  hovering  mist-banks  cast  their  shadow.15 

It  was  mainly  a  city  of  tents,  rising  in  crescent  in 
cline  upon  the  shores  of  the  cove.  Stretching  from 
Clark  Point  on  the  north-east,  it  skirted  in  a  narrow 
band  the  dominant  Telegraph  hill,  and  expanded  along 
the  Clay-street  slopes  into  a  more  compact  settlement 
of  about  a  third  of  a  mile,  wrhich  tapered  away  along 
the  California-street  ridge.  Topographic  peculiarities 
compelled  the  daily  increasing  canvas  structures  to 
spread  laterally,  and  a  streak  extended  northward 
along  Stockton  street;  but  the  larger  number  passed 
to  the  south-west  shores  of  the  cove,  beyond  the  Mar 
ket-street  ridge,  a  region  which,  sheltered  from  the 
blustering  west  winds  and  provided  with  good  spring 
water,  was  named  Happy  Valley.16  Beyond  an  at- 

15  Hardly  any  visitor  fails  to  dilate  upon  the  dreary  bareness  of  the  hills, 
a  'corpse-like  waste,'  as  Pfeiffer,  Lady's  Second  Jour.,  288,  has  it.   Helper's 
Land  of  Gold,  83. 

16  All  this  shore  beyond  California  street,  for  several  blocks  inland,  was 
called  Happy  Valley;  yet  the  term  applied  properly  to  the  valley  about  First, 
Second,  Mission,  and  Natoma  sts.     The  section  along  Howard  st  was  known 
as  Pleasant  Valley.  Deans  Stat.,  MS.,  1;  Currey's  Incidents,  MS.,  4;    Wilicy, 
and  pioneer  letters  in  S.  F.  Bulletin,  May  17,  1859;  Jan.  23,  Sept.  10,  18G7. 
The  unclaimed  soil  was  also  an  attraction.     The  hill  which  at  the  present 
Palace  Hotel  rose  nearly  threescore  feet  in  height  in  a  measure  turned  the 
wind.     Yet  proportionately  more  people  died  in  this  valley,  says  Garniss, 
Early  Days,  MS.,   10,  than  in  the  higher  parts  of  S.  F.     Currey  estimates 
the  number  of  tents  here  during  the  winter  1849-50  at  1,000,  and  adds  that 
the  dwellings  along  Stockton  st,  north  from  Clay,  were  of  a  superior  order. 
Ulri,  sup. ,  8.     Details  on  the  extent  of  the  city  are  given  also  in  Williams' 
Recol,  MS.,  6;  Merrill,  Stat.,  MS.,  2,  wherein  is  observed  that  it  took  half  an 
hour  to  reach  Fourth  st  from  the  plaza,  owing  to  the  trail  winding  round 
sand  hills.    Button's  Early  Exper.,  MS.,  1;  Barstow's  Stat.,  MS.,  2;  Roach's 
Stat.,   MS,,  2;   Doolittle's  Stat.,  MS.,  2;    Upham's  Notes,  221;    Tun-ill's  Cal. 
Notes,  22-7;  Winans'  Stat.,  MS.,  514;  Fay's  Facts,  MS.,  3;  Findlas  Stat.,  MS.,  3, 
9;  Robinson's  Cal.  and  Its  Gold  Reg.,  10;  Walton's  Facts,  8;  Richardson's  Missis., 
448,  with  view  of  S.  F.  in  1847;  Lloyd's  Lights  and  Shades,  18-20;  Saxons 
Five.  Years,  309-12;  Hemhaw's  Events,  MS.,  2;  Ricliardson's  Mining,  MS.,  10-11; 
Frisbie's  Remin.,  MS.,  36-7;  Sixteen  Months,  46,  167;  Cal.  Gold  Regions,  1C5, 
214;   Hutcfungs'  Mag.,  i.  83;  Dilke's  Greater  Britain,  209,  228-32;   Clemens' 


tenuatecl  string  continued  toward  the  government 
reservation  at  Rincon  Point,  the  south-east  limit  of 
the  cove.17 

Thus  the  city  was  truly  a  fit  entrepot  for  the  gold 
region.  Yet,  with  the  distinctive  features  of  different 
nationalities,  it  had  in  the  aggregate  a  stamp  of  its 
own,  and  this  California  type  is  still  recognizable 
despite  the  equalizing  effect  of  intercourse,  especially 
with  the  eastern  states. 

The  first  striking  landmark  to  the  immigrant  was 
Telegraph  hill,  with  its  windmill-like  signal  house  and 
pole,  whose  arms,  by  their  varying  position,  indicated 
the  class  of  vessel  approaching  the  Golden  Gate.18 
And  many  a  flutter  of  hope  and  expectation  did  they 
evoke  when  announcing  the  mail  steamer,  laden  with 
letters  and  messengers,  or  some  long-expected  clipper- 
ship  with  merchandise,  or  perchance  bringing  a  near 
and  dear  relative  1  Along  its  southern  slopes  dwell 
ings  began  rapidly  to  climb,  with  squatters'  eyries 
perched  upon  the  rugged  spurs,  and  tents  nestling  in 
the  ravines.  Clark  Point,  at  its  foot,  was  for  a  time 
a  promising  spot,  favored  by  the  natural  landing  ad 
vantages,  and  the  Broadway  pier,  the  first  ship  wharf; 
and  its  section  of  Sansorne  street  was  marked  by  a 
number  of  corrugated  iron  stores;  but  with  the  rapid 
extension  of  the  wharf  system,  Montgomery  street 
reaffirmed  its  position  as  the  base  line  for  business. 
Most  of  the  heavy  import  firms  were  situated  along 
its  eastern  side,  including  a  number  of  auction-houses, 
conspicuous  for  their  open  and  thronged  doors,  and  the 

Roughing  It,  410,  417,  444;  tfouv.  Annaks  Voy>,  1849,  224;  Voorhies'  Oration, 
4-5;  Pac.  Neto*,  Nov.  27,  1849;  Dec.  27,  1850;  New  and  Old,  69  et  seq.;  Mc- 
•Collums  Call  33-6.  Earlier  details  at  the  close  of  preceding  volume. 

17  A  mile  across  from  Clark  Point.     These  two  points  presented  the  only 
boat  approach  at  low  water.     A  private  claim  to  Rincon  Point  reservation 
was  subsequently  raised  ou  the  ground  that  the  spot  had  been  preempted  by 
one  White;  but  government  rights  were  primary  in  cases  involving  military 
defences.  8.  F.  Times,  Apr.  7th. 

18  This   improved   signal-station,  in  a  two-atory  house   25  ft  by  18,  was 
erected  in  Sept.  1849.  Reminiscences  in  S.  F.  Call,  Dec.  8,  1870;  Taylor 's  El 
dorado,  i.  117.     After  the  telegraph  connected  the  outer  ocean  station  with 
the  city,  tlie  hill  became  mainly  a  resort  for  Visitors.     The  signal-house  was 
blown  down  in  Dec.  1870. 


hum  of  sellers  and  bidders.  On  the  mud-flats  Ji  their 
rear,  exposed  by  the  receding  tide,  lay  barges  unload 
ing  merchandise.  Toward  the  end  of  1849,  piling  and 
filling  pushed  warehouses  ever  farther  out  into  the 
cove,  but  Montgomery  street  retained  most  of  the 
business  offices,  some  occupying  the  crossing  thor 
oughfares.  Clay  street  above  Montgomery  became 
a  dry-goods  centre.  Commercial  street  was  opened, 
and  its  water  extension,  Long  Wharf,  unfolded  into  a 
pedler's  avenue  and  Jews'  quarter,  where  Cheap  Johns 
with  sonorous  voices  and  broad  wit  attracted  crowds 
of  idlers.  The  levee  eastward  was  transformed  into 
Leidesdorff  street,  and  contained  the  Pacific  Mail 
Steamship  office.  California  street,  which  marked 
the  practical  limit  of  settlement  *in  1848,  began  to 
attract  some  large  importing  firms;  and  thither  was 
transferred  in  the  middle  of  1850  the  custom-house, 
round  which  clustered  the  express  offices  and  two 
places  of  amusement.  Nevertheless,  the  city  by  that 
time  did  not  extend  beyond  Bush  street,  save  in  the 
line  along  the  shore  to  Happy  Valley,  where  manu 
facturing  enterprises  found  a  congenial  soil,  fringed 
on  the  west  by  family  residences. 

Kearny  street  was  from  the  first  assigned  to  retail 
shops,  extending  from  Pine  to  Broadway  streets,  and 
centring  round  Portsmouth  square,  a  bare  spot,  relieved 
alone  by  the  solitary  liberty-pole,  and  the  animals  in 
and  around  it.19  The  bordering  sides  of  the  plaza 
were,  however,  mainly  occupied  by  gambling-houses, 
flooded  with  brilliant  light  and  music,  and  with  flaring 
streamers  which  attracted  idlers  and  men  seeking  re 
laxation.  Additional  details,  with  a  list  of  business 
firms  and  notable  houses  and  features,  I  append  in  a 
note.20  At  the  corner  of  Pacific  street  stood  a  four- 

19  It  long  remained  a  cow-pen,  enclosed  by  rough  boards.  Helper's  Land 
Of  Gold,  74. 

29  A  record  of  the  business  and  professional  community  of  S.  F.  in  1849- 
50  cannot  be  made  exhaustive  or  rigidly  accurate  for  several  obvious  reasons. 
There  was  a  constant  influx  and  reflux  of  people  from  and  to  the  interior, 
especially  in  the  spring  and  autumn.  The  irregularity  in  building  and 
numbering  left  much  confusion;  and  the  several  sweeping  conflagrations 


story  building  adorned  with   balconies,  wherein  the 
City  Hall  had  found  a  halting-place  after  much  mi- 

which  caused  the  ruin,  disappearance,  and  removal  of  many  firms  and  stores, 
added  to  the  confusion.  Instability  characterized  this  early  period  here  as 
well  as  in  the  ever-shifting  mining  camps.  I  would  have  preferred  to  limit 
the  present  record  of  the  city  to  1849  as  the  all-important  period,  but  the 
autumn  and  spring  movements  force  me  over  into  the  middle  of  1850.  The 
vagueness  of  some  of  my  authorities  leads  me  occasionally  to  overstep  even 
this  line.  These  authorities  are,  foremost,  the  numerous  manuscript  dicta 
tions  and  documents  obtained  from  pioneers,  so  frequently  quoted  in  this  and 
other  chapters;  the  ayuntamiento  minutes;  advertisements  and  notices  in  the 
AUa  California,  Pacific  News,  Journal  of  Commerce,  California  Courier,  S.  F. 
Herald,  Evening  Picayune,  and  later  newspapers;  and  Kimbairs  Directory 
ofS.  F.  for  1850,  the  first  work  of  the  kind  here  issued.  It  is  a  16mo  of  1C9 
pages,  with  some  2,500  names,  remarkable  for  its  omissions,  errors,  and  lack 
of  even  alphabetical  order,  yet  of  great  value.  The  Men  and  Memories  cf 
San  Francisco  in  the  Spring  of  1850,  by  T.  A.  Barry  and  B.  A.  Patten,  S.  F., 
1873,  12mo,  296  pp.,  which  has  taken  its  chief  cue  from  the  above  directory, 
wanders  often  widely  from  the  period  indicated  on  the  title-page,  yet  offers 
many  interesting  data.  I  also  refer  to  my  record  for  the  city  in  1848,  in  the 
preceding  vol.,  v.  67G  etseq.  The  favorite  landing-place  for  passengers  of 
1849  was  the  rocks  at  Clark  Point,  so  called  after  Wm  S.  Clark,  who  still 
owns  the  warehouse  here  erected  by  him  in  1847-8,  at  the  N.E.  corner  of 
Battery  and  Broadway.  At  the  foot  of  Broadway  extended  also  the  first 
wharf  for  vessels,  a  short  structure,  which  by  Oct.  1850  had  been  stretched 
a  distance  of  250  feet,  by  40  in  width.  The  name  Commercial  applied  to  it 
for  a  while  soon  yielded  to  Broadway.  Here  were  the  offices  of  the  harbor 
master,  river  and  bar  pilots,  and  Sacramento  steamer,  and  for  a  time  the 
brig  Treaty  lay  at  the  pier  as  a  storage  ship,  controlled  by  Whitman  &  Sal 
mon,  merchants.  On  the  same  wharf  were  the  offices  of  Flint  (Jas  P.  and 
Ed.),  Peabody,  &  Co.,  Osgood  &  Eagleston,  commission  merchants;  Geo.  H. 
Peck,  produce  merchant;  F.  Vassault  &  Co.  (W.  F.  Roelofson),  Col  March, 
Col  Ben.  Poor,  Jos.  P.  Blair,  agent  of  the  Aspinwall '  steamship  line,  J. 
Badkins,  grocer,  and  the  noted  Steinberger's  butcher-shop. 

Near  by,  to  the  north,  were  three  pile  projections.  First,  Cunningham 
wharf,  between  Vallejo  and  Green  sts,  in  Oct.  1850,  375  ft  long,  33  ft  wide,  wich 
a  right-angle  extension  of  3CO  ft  by  30,  at  a  depth  of  25  ft  cost  $75,000.  Here 
lay  for  a  time  the  storage  ship  Resdutci,  in  care  of  the  pilot  agent  Ncbon.  For 
building  grant  of  wharf  to  Jos.  Cunningham,  see  S.  F.  Minutes,  1849,  197-8. 
At  the  foot  of  Green  st  and  toward  Union  st  were  the  extensions  of  B.  R. 
Buckelew  &  Co.,  general  merchants,  and  the  Law  or  Green-st-wharf  build 
ing  in  the  autumn  of  1850.  Southward  stretched  the  wharf  extension  of 
Pacific  st,  a  solid  structure  60  ft  wide,  of  which  in  Oct.  1850  525  ft  were 
completed,  out  of  the  proposed  800  ft,  to  cost  $60,  COO.  On  its  north  side, 
beyond  Battery  st,  lay  the  storage  ship  Arkansas.  Near  it  was  the  butcher- 
shop  of  Tim  Burnham,  and  the  office  of  Hy.  Wetherbee,  merchant.  Near 
the  foot  of  Broadway  st,  appropriately  so  named  from  its  extra  width,  were 
the  offices  of  Wm  E.  S  tough  tenburgh,  auctioneer  and  com.  mer. ;  Hutton  & 
Miller  (M.  E.);  Ellis  (J.  S.,  later  sheriff  S.  F.)  &  Goin  (T.);  and  L.  T.  Wil 
son,  shipping;  Hutton  (J.  F.)  &  Timmerman,  com.  mer.;  D.  Babcock,  drug 
gist;  D.  Chandler,  market.  On  Battery  st,  named  after  the  Fort  Montgom 
ery  battery  of  1846  which  stood  at  the  water  edge  north  of  Vallejo  st,  rose 
the  Fremont  hotel  of  John  Sutch,  near  Vallejo,  and  the  Bay  hotel  of  Pet. 
Guevil.  On  either  side  of  the  street,  between  Vallejo  and  Broadway,  were 
the  offices  of  Ed.  H.  Castle,  mer.;  Gardiner,  Howard,  &  Co.,  Hazen  &  Co., 
Jos.  L.  Howell,  J.  H.  Morgan  &  Co.  (A.  E.  Kitfield,  John  Lentell),  L.  R. 
Mills,  J.  H.  Morton  &  Co.,  corner  of  Vallejo,  the  last  three  grocers;  Nat.  Mil 
ler  is  marked  both  as  grocer  and  lumber  dealer;  Wm  Suffern,  saddler;  south 
of  Broadway  were  Brooks  &  Friel,  tin-plate  workers. 

On  Broadway,  between  Battery  and  Sansome  sts,  were  the  offices  of  C.  A. 


grating,  in  conjunction  with  the  jail  ana  court-rooms. 
The  opposite  block,  stretching  toward  Montgomery 

Bertram!,  shipping;  at  the  Battery  corner,  Wm  Clark,  mer.;  John  Elliott, 
com.  mer.;  Geo.  F arris  &  Co.  (S,  C.  Northrop  and  Edwin  Thompson),  gen. 
store.  Half  a  dozen  additional  Point  hostelries  were  here  represented  by  the 
Illinois  house  of  S.  Anderson,  at  the  Battery  corner,  Broadway  house  of  Wm 
M.  Bruner,  the  rival  Broadway  hotel  of  L.  Dederer,  Lovejoy's  hotel  of  J.  H. 
Brown,  Lafayette  hotel  of  L.  Guiraud,  and  Albion  house  of  Croxton  &  Ward, 
the  latter  four  between  Sansome  and  Montgomery  sts,  in  which  section  were 
abo  the  offices  of  White,  Graves,  &  Buckley,  and  Aug.  A.  Watson  &  Co  ;  II. 
Marks  &  Bro.,  gen.  store;  Wm  H.  Towne,  and  Dederer  &  Valentine,  gro 
cers.  West  of  Battery  ran  Sansome  st,  from  Telegraph  hill  cliffs  at  Broadway 
to  the  cove  at  Jackson  st,  well  lined  with  business  places,  and  conspicuous 
for  the  number  of  corrugated  iron  buildings.  At  the  west  corner  of  Broad 
way  rose  the  3} -story  wooden  edifice  of  J.  W.  Bingham,  0.  Reynolds,  and  F.  A. 
&  W.  A.  Bartlott,  com.  mer.  In  the  same  block  was  the  office  of  De  Witt  (Alf. 
&  Harrison,  (H.  A.),  one  of  the  oldest  firms,  later  Kittle  &  Co.;  abo  Case, 
Heiser,  &  Co.,  and  Mahoney,  Ripley,  &  McCullough,  on  the  N.  w.  Pacific-st 
corner,  who  dealt  partly  in  ammunition.  At  the  Paciiic-st  corner  were  abo 
Wm  H.  Mosher  &  Co.  (W.  A.  Bryant,  W.  F.  Story,  W.  Adain),  and  E.  S. 
Stone  &  Co.,  com.  mers,  and  Hawley's  store.  In  the  same  section  were  the 
offices  of  Muir  (A.)  &  Greene  (E.),  brokers;  Jos.  W.  Hartman  and  Jas  Hogan, 
mers,  are  assigned  to  Telegraph  hill.  The  well-known  C.  J.  Collins  had  a 
hat-shop  on  this  street,  and  Jose  Suffren  kept  a  grocery  at  the  Broadway 

The  section  of  Sansome  st,  between  Pacific  and  Jackson  sts,  was  even  more 
closely  occupied.  At  Gold  st,  a  lane  running  westward  along  the  cove,  L.  B. 
Hanks  had  established  himself  as  a  lumber  dealer.  Buildings  had  risen  on 
piles  beyond  the  lane,  however,  on  the  corners  of  Jackson  st,  occupied  by 
Corjhill  (H.  J.)  &  Arrington  (W.),  com.  mer. ;  Bullet  &  Patrick  (on  the  opposit*e 
side),  Buzby  &  Bros,  F.  M.  Warren  &  Co.  (C.  E.  Chapin,  S.  W.  Shelter),  ship 
and  com.  mer. ;  Hotalling  &  Barnstead,  Huerlin  &  Belcher,  gen.  dealers,  and 
Ed.  H.  Parker.  Northward  in  the  section  were  Ellis  (M.),  Crosby  (C.  W.),  & 
Co.  (W.  A.  Beecher),  Cross  (Al.),  Hobson  (Jos.),  &  Co.  (W.  Hooper),  Under 
wood  (Thos),  McKnight  (W.  S.),  &  Co.  (C.  W.  Creely),  Dana  Bros  (W.  A.  & 
H.  T.),  W.  H.  Davenport,  Grayson  &  Guild,  and  J.  B.  Lippincott  &  Co.,  all 
com.  mers;  E.  S.  Lovel,  mer.;  Chard,  Johnson  (D.  M.),  &Co.,  gen.  importers, 
at  Gold  st;  Simmons,  Lilly,  &  Co.,  clothing.  J.  W.  &  S.  H.  Dwinelle,  coun 
sellors,  were  in  Cross  &  Hobson's  building.  On  Pacific  st,  adjoining,  was  the 
office  of  Wm  Burlin,  mer.,  the  grocery  stores  of  T.  W.  Legget  and  Man. 
SufHoni,  the  confectionery  store  of  J.  H.  &  T.  M.  Gale,  and  three  hotels, 
Union,  Marine,  and  du  Commerce,  kept  by  Geo.  Brown,  C.  C.  Stiles,  and  C. 
Renault,  the  last  two  between  Sansome  st  and  Ohio  st,  the  latter  a  lane  run 
ning  parallel  to  the  former,  from  Pacific  to  Broadway. 

The  business  part  of  Montgomery  st,  named  after  the  U.  S.  naval  officer 
commanding  at  S.  F.  in  1846,  extended  southward  from  the  cliffs  at  Broad 
way,  and  beyond  it,  on  the  slopes  of  Telegraph  hill.  There  were  several 
dwelling-houses,  among  them  Capt.  P.  B.  Hewlitt's,  who  received  boarders; 
yet  the  hill  was  mostly  abandoned  to  disreputable  Sydney  men,  and  westward 
to  the  now  assimilating  Spanish  Americans.  In  the  section  between  Broad 
way  and  Pacific  sts,  I  find  only  the  merchant  F.  Berton;  Chipman,  Brown,  & 
Co.  were  grocers;  Jas  Harrison  kept  a  gen.  store  at  the  corner,  and  Dr  S.  R. 
Gerry,  the  health  officer  of  Dec.  1849,  had  an  office  here.  In  the  next  sec 
tion,  between  Pacific  and  Jackson,  Montgomery  st  assumed  the  general  busi 
ness  stamp  for  which  it  was  preeminent.  Merchants,  commission  houses,  and 
auctioneers  were  the  chief  occupants,  the  last  being  most  conspicuous.  At 
the  Pacific  corner  were  the  merchants  Harrison  (Capt.  C.  H.),  Bailey,  & 
Hooper,  and  A.  Olphan;  and  at  the  Jackson  end,  J.  C.  &  W.  H.  V.  Cronise, 


street  and  at  the  foot  of  Telegraph  hill,  was  filled  with 
shabby  dens  and  public  houses  of  the  lowest  order, 

mers  and  aucs  (with  them  as  clerk,  Titus  Cronise,  the  later  author),  Hervey 
Sparks,  banker  and  real  estate  dealer,  and  Dewey  (Squire  P. )  &  Smith  (F. 
M.),  re:il  estate.  Intermediate  were  J  Behrens,  Geo.  Brown,  Davis  &  Co.  (J. 
W.  &  N.  R.  Davis),  J  H  Levein,  McKenzie,  Thompson,  &  Co.,  H.  H.  Nel 
son,  Thos  Whaley,  G.  S.  Wardle  &  Co.,  all  com.  mers;  Simon  Raphael,  mer.; 
J.  A.  Norton,  ship  and  com,  mer.,  an  English  Jew  whose  subsequent  business 
reverses  affected  his  mind  and  converted  him  into  one  of  the  most  noted  char 
acters  of  S.  F,  under  the  title  of  Emperor  Norton  of  Mexico.  Until  his 
death,  in  1880,  he  could  be  seen  daily  in  the  business  centres,  dressed  in  a 
shabby  military  uniform,  and  attending  to  financial  and  political  measures  for 
his  empire.  Here  were  also  the  clothing  stores  of  Raphael  (J.  G.),  Falk,  & 
Co.,  J.  Simons,  Louis  Simons,  and  Dan.  Toy. 

The  Jackson-st  corner  bordered  on  the  neck  of  the  lagoon,  which  pene 
trated  in  a  pear  form  on  either  side  of  this  street  more  than  half-way  up  to 
Kearny  st.  It  was  one  of  the  first  spots  to  Which  the  fillage  system  was 
applied,  and  the  bridge  by  which  Montgomery  st  crossed  its  neck  since  1844 
had  by  1849  been  displaced  by  a  solid  levee.  Jackson  st  began  its  march  into 
the  cove,  and  in  Oct.  2,  1850,  the  private  company  controlling  the  work  were 
fast  advancing  the  piling  beyond  Battery  to  Front  st,  being  552  feet  out, 
where  the  depth  was  13  ft.  The  estimated  cost  was  $40,000.  Its  section 
between  Montgomery  and  Sansome  was  heavily  occupied  by  firms:  N.  Larco 
&  Co.  (Labrosa,  Roding,  Bendixson),  Louis  Cohen,  Quevedo,  Lafour,  &  Co., 
Reihlincr,  Etlleysen,  &  Co.,  O.  P.  Sutton,  mers;  Bech,  Elam,  &  Co.  (W.  G. 
Eason,  J.  Galloway),  J.  C.  Catton,  Huttmann  (F.),  Eiller,  &  Co.,  Wm  Ladd, 
J.  F.  Stuart  &  Co.  (J.  Raynes),  com.  mers;  Christal,  Corman,  &  Co.,  Lord  & 
Washburn,  wholesale  and  gen.  mers;  Beideman(J.  C.)&  Co.  (S.  Fleischhaker), 
Ollendorff,  Wolf,  &  Co.  (C.  Friedenberg),  B.  Pinner  &  Bro.,  Potsdamer  & 
Rosenbaum  (J.  &  A.),  Sam.  Thompson,  R.  Wyman  &  Co.  (T.  S.  Wyman), 
clothing;  Adam  Grant,  S.  L.  Jacobs,  Titman  Bros,  C.  Jansen  &  Co.,  dry 
goods — the  last  named  victims  of  the  outrage  which  led  to  the  vigilance  up- 
r::ing  of  1851 — Hall  &  Martin,  aucs;  Roth  &  Potter,  stoves  and  tinwork; 
"White  &  McNulty,  grocers;  Paul  Adams,  fruit;  Dickson  &  Hay,  land-office; 
C.  C.  Richmond  &  Co.,  druggists,  in  a  store  brought  out  by  the  Eudorus,  Sept. 
1049.  Here  were  also  two  hotels,  the  Commercial  and  the  Dalton  house, 
kept  by  J.  Ford  &  Co.  and  Smith  &  Hasty,  and  the  fonda  Mejicana  of  E. 
Pascual  dispensed  the  fiery  dishes  dear  to  Mexican  palates.  Sansome  st  ex 
tended  from  here  on  piles  southward,  and  in  the  section  between  Jackson  and 
Washington  sts,  on  the  east  side,  was  the  office  of  W.  T.  Coleinan  &  Co.,  com. 
mers,  whose  chief  was  prominently  connected  with  the  vigilance  committee 
of  1851,  and  the  famed  president  of  the  1856  body.  Near  by  were  Jas  H. 
Ray,  Turner,  Fish,  &  Co.,  Goodall  (T.  H.),  Muzzy,  &  Co.,  Paul  White  &  Co. 
(J.  Watson),  also  com.  mers;  John  Cowell,  mer.  at  the  Jackson  corner;  Bel- 
knap,  White,  &  Co.,  provisions.  Rogers,  Richeson,  £  Co.  (M.  Jordan)  had  a 
coal-yard,  and  at  Jones'  alley  lay  a  lumber-yard  belonging  to  Palmer,  Cook, 

Continuing  along  Jackson  st,  from  Sansome  to  Battery  st,  we  find  the 
offices  of  Myrick,  Crosett,  &  Co.,  gen.  jobbers;  Howe  &  Hunter,  Jacoby, 
Herman,  &  Co.,  Savoni,  Archer,  &  Co.,  N.  H.  Sanborn,  Murry  &  Sanger,  Vose, 
Wood,  &  Co.,  com.  mers.  Wm  Crosett,  com.  mer.;  C.  E.  Hunter  &  Co.,  F. 
Coleman  Sanford,  gen.  mers;  F.  M.  Warren  &  Co.,  White  (W.  H.)  &  Williams 
(J.  T.),  ship,  and  com.  mers;  the  latter  nearer  Sansome  st.  Along  the 
water-front  W.  Meyer  kept  a  coffee-house.  The  latter  part  of  this  section 
was  a  wharf,  and  the  narrow  approach  to  the  office  of  Dupuy,  Foulkes,  &  Co., 
coin,  mer.,  at  the  Battery  corner,  revealed  the  splashing  water  on  either 
si-le.  Beyond  them  were  the  offices  of  E.  L.  Plumb,  mer. ;  Gassett  &  Sanborn 
(T.  S.),  E.  S.  Woodford  &  Co.  (J.  B.  Bridgeman),  ship,  and  com.  mersj  O. 


frequented  by  sinister-looking  men  and  brazen-faced 
females,  who  day  or  night  were  always  ready  either 

Charlick,  agent  for  Law's  line  of  steamers;  Gregory's  (J.  W.)  express; 
Schultz  &  Palmer,  grocers.  South  of  Jackson  and  west  of  Battery  st  lay 
the  storage  vessel  Georgean,  though  some  identify  her  with  the  prison  brig 
Euphemia.  On  Montgomery  st,  between  Jackson  and  Washington  sts,  were 
at  least  four  of  the  characteristic  auction -houses,  Moore  (G.  H.),  Folger  (F.  B.), 
&  Hill  (H.),  Jas  B.  Huie,  Scooffy  &  Kelsey,  and  W.  H.  Jones.  At  the 
Jackson-st  corner  were  Haight  (E.)  &  Ames  (0.  T. ),  com.  mers,  and  Pratt 
(J.)  &  Cole  (Cornel)  (later  U.  S.  senator),  attorneys;  while  at  the  Washing- 
ton-st  end  rose  the  Merchants'  Exchange  Reading  Room  of  L.  W.  Sloat — 
son  of  the  commodore — S.  Gower  is  also  named  as  proprietor — and  at  the  N. 
w.  corner  the  offices  of  C.  L.  Ross.  com.  mer.,  who  during  the  early  part  of 
1849  acted  as  postmaster  (in  1848  he  had  a  lumber-yard).  H.  B.  Sherman,  and 
P.  A.  Morse,  counsellor.  Among  the  occupants  of  the  Exchange  building 
were  Dickson  (IX),  De  Wolf  &  Co.,  and  J.  S.  Hager,  counsellor,  later  U.  S. 
senator;  and  in  the  Exchange  court  were  E.  D.  Heatley  &  Co.,  com.  mers; 
with  S.  Price,  consul  for  Chile,  as  partner.  In  this  section  are  mentioned 
among  the  merchants,  Rob.  Hamilton,  Worster  &  Gushing  (G.  A.),  W.  Hart, 
Stowell,  Williams  (H.),  &  Co.,  H.  Schroeder,  Van  der  Meden,  &  Co.,  Bennett 
&  Hallock  (J.  Y.),  L.  L.  Blood  &  Co.  (J.  H.  Adams,  G.  B.  Hunt),  Worthing- 
ton,  Beale,  &  Bunting,  Jos.  Bidleman,  Ed.  Gilson,  Guyol,  Galbraith,  &  Co., 
Mazera  N.  Medina,  com.  mers.  WykofF  &  Co.  (G.),  were  wholesale  dealers; 
Jas  Dows  &  Co.,  wholesale  liquor  men  (T.  G.  Phelps,  their  clerk,  was  later 
congressman  and  collector  of  S.  F. ) ;  S.  &  B.  Harries,  S.  Fleischhacker,  Pugh, 
Jacob,  &  Co.,  clothing;  Mclntosh  (R.)  &  Co.,  provisions;  John  Rainey,  gen. 
dealer;  Sabatie  (A.)  &  Roussel,  grocers;  Conroy  &  O'Conner,  hardware;  Brad 
ley,  photographer;  H.  F.  Williams,  carpenter  and  builder,  on  E.  side.  C.  Web 
ster  kept  the  Star  house.  At  the  foot  of  Washington  st,  which  touched  the 
cove  a  few  feet  below  Montgomery  st,  were  Franklin,  Selim,  &  Co.,  gen.  mers; 
Hosmer  &  Bros,  A.  P.  Kinnan,  and  Maynard  &  Co.,  grocers;  Leonard  &  Tay, 
produce  mers,  Chapin  &  Sawyer,  com.  mers,  Camilo  Martin,  and  J.  F.  Lohse, 
mers.  The  private  wharf  prolongation  of  this  street  extended  275  feet  by 
Oct.  1850. 

Between  Washington  and  Clay,  Montgomery  st  was  marked  by  additions 
in  the  banking  line,  notably  Burgoyne  &  Co.  (J.  V.  Plume),  at  the  s.w.  cor 
ner  of  Washington  st,  Ludlow  (S.),  Beebe,  &  Co.,  and  H.  M.  Naglee  &  Co., 
corner  of  Merchant  st,  and  by  a  literary  atmosphere  imparted  by  the  San 
Francisco  Herald,  of  Nugent  &  Co.,  the  Journal  of  Commerce,  of  W.  Bartlett 
(mayor  S.  F.  and  gov.  Cal.),  associated  with  Robb,  and  The  Watchman,  a  re 
ligious  monthly  by  A.  Williams,  at  the  same  office.  Marvin  &  Hitchcock's 
book-store  was  in  the  Herald  building,  the  Delmonico's  hotel,  by  Delmonico 
&  Treadwell,  at  the  Irving  house,  on  the  E.  side,  while  the  drug-store  of 
Harris  &  Parton  was  at  the  Wash.-st  corner.  At  these  corners  were  the 
offices  of  Finley,  Johnson  (C.  H.),  &  Co.,  (J.  W.  Austin),  Grogan  &  Lent 
(W.  M. ),  both  com.  mers,  and  Horace  Hawes,  counsellor  (and  first  sheriff  of 
the  county);  at  the  corner  of  Merchant  st,  Barron  &  Co.,  com.  mer.,  held  out, 
and  on  its  s.w.  corner  a  three-story  brick  building  was  begun  in  Oct.  1849, 
on  the  site  of  Capt.  Hinckley's  adobe  house.  The  Clay-st  corners  were  occu 
pied  by  Cordes,  Steffens,  &  Co.,  Josiah  Belden,  com.  mers;  Bacon  &  Mahony, 
and  R.  J.  Stevens  &  Co.  (G.  T.  H.  Cole),  both  ship  and  com.  mers.  In  the 
same  section  were  Earl,  Mackintosh,  &  Co.,  Hayden  &  Mudge,  Cost  &  Ver- 
planck,  the  latter  two  in  the  Herald  building,  Vogan,  Lyon,  &  Co.,  Manrow  & 
Co.  (W.  N.  Meeks),  all  com.  mers;  Oct.  Hoogs,  J.  C.  Treadwell,  mers;  Ken- 
dig,  Wainright,  &  Co.,  auc.  and  com.  mer.  in  a  long  one-story  wooden  house; 
J.  A.  Kyte,  ship  and  com.  mer.;  Corvin  &  Markley,  clothing  and  shoes; 
Marriott,  real  estate;  F.  G.  &  J.  C.  Ward,  gen.  dealers.  In  the  same  or  ad 
joining  section,  if  we  may  trust  the  confused  numbering  of  those  days,  may 


for  low  revelry  or  black  crime.  The  signs  above  the 
drinking-houses  bore  names  which,  like  Tarn  O'Shan- 

be  placed  Beech  &  Forrey,  Vandervoort  &  Co.,  Rob.  Fash,  L.  Haskell,  H. 
Hughes,  jr,  E.  T.  Martin,  Porter  &  Co.,  Sage  &  Smith  (Stewart),  all  com. 
mers;  Annan,  Lord,  &  Co.,  gen.  jobbing;  Reed  &  Carter,  ship  mers;  Jos. 
Chapman  and  Joel  Holkins  &  Co.,  mers;  Fitch  (H.  S.)  &  Co.  (I.  McK. 
Lemon),  auc.  and  com.  mers;  Frisbie  &  Co.,  mer.  broker;  A.  B.  Southworth, 
metal  dealer;  Ed.  S.  Spear,  broker;  D.  S.  Morrill,  Boston  notions;  Johnson 
&  McCarty,  provisions;  Crittenden  (A.  P.)  &  Randolph,  and  S.  Heydenfelt, 
attorneys;  and  the  Pacific  bath-house. 

Turning  down  Clay  st  toward  the  water,  we  find  in  1849  the  beginning  of 
a  wharf,  just  below  Montgomery  st,  which  by  Oct.  1850  extended  900  ft  by 
4'J  ft  in  width,  and  would  before  the  end  of  that  year  be  carried  900  ft  farther, 
at  a  total  cost  of  $39,000.  In  its  rear,  at  the  N.  w.  Sansome-st  corner  had 
been  left  stranded  the  old  whaler  Niantic,  converted  into  a  warehouse  with 
offices,  by  Godeffroy,  Sillem,  &  Co.  At  the  corresponding  Battery  corner  lay 
the  storage  ship  Gen.  Harrison.  Along  this  wharf  street  were  established  Ira 
A.  Eaton,  B.  H.  Randolph,  Hochkofler  &  Tenequel,  J.  G.  Pierce,  F.  Vassault, 
mers;  J.  J.  Chauviteau  &  Co.,  gen.  bankers  and  com.  mers;  J.  B.  Corrigan, 
Green  (H.)  &  Morgan  (N.  D.),  Ogden  &  Haynes,  Z.  Holt,  E.  Mickle  &  Co.  (W. 
H.  Tillinghast,  later  banker),  H.  C.  Beals,  J.  H.  Chichester,  Win  H.  Coit,  Geo. 
Sexsmith,  Simmons,  Hutchinson,  &  Co.  (Simmons  died  Sept.  1850,  see  biog. 
preceding  vol.  v.),  com.  mers;  Woodworth  (S.  &  F.)  &  Morris,  ship  and  com. 
mers  (Selim  E.  Woodworth,  the  second  vigilance  president  of  1851,  leader  of 
the  immigrant  relief  party  of  1848,  and  later  U.  S.  commodore);  Moorehead, 
Whitehead,  &  Waddington,  Valparaiso  flour  mers;  here  was  also  the  office 
of  the  Sacramento  steamers;  T.  Breeze  (later  Breeze  &  Loughran).  Many  of 
the  stores  were  of  zinc.  Buckley  &  Morse,  shipsmiths,  Schloss  Bros,  wholesale 
dealers;  Jas  Patrick,  Jas  B.  Weir,  provisions;  Dunbar  (F.)  &  Gibbs,  grocers, 
on  Sansome  st.  The  southern  half  of  the  Wash. -Clay  block  on  the  corner 
was  owned  by  R.  M.  Sherman,  for  a  time,  in  1848-9,  of  the  firm  Sherman  & 
Ruckle,  and  he  still  owns  the  property. 

Returning  to  Montgomery  st  toward  Sacramento  st,  we  find  at  the 
S.  w.  Clay-st  corner  the  first  brick  house  of  the  city,  erected  by  Mellus  & 
Howard  in  1848.  This  appears  to  be  the  so-called  fire-proof  Wells  building, 
occupied  partly  by  Wells  (T.  G.)  &  Co.,  bankers.  At  the  Clay-st  corners 
were  also  Fay,  Pierce,  &  Willis,  O.  C.  Osborne,  sr  and  jr,  com.  mers;  M.  F. 
Klaucke,  gen.  mer. ;  Delos  Lake,  counsellor,  and  Cooke  &  Lecount,  stationers. 
At  the  corner  of  Commercial  st,  James  King  of  William,  the  assassinated 
editor  of  1856,  had  a  banking-house;  here  were  also  N.  Bargber  &  Co.,  mers; 
Jas  Murry,  ship  mer.;  and  on  the  S.  E.  corner  stood  the  noted  Tontine  gam 
bling-house,  managed  by  W.  Shear,  and  also  by  Austin  &  Button  (Austin  was 
later  tax  collector  of  the  city).  A  two-story -and-a-half  house  on  the  opposite 
corner,  with  projecting  eaves,  once  belonging  to  the  Hudson's  Bay  Co.,  had 
also  a  gambling-saloon  much  frequented  by  Mexicans.  In  this  circle  figured 
the  Eureka  hotel  of  J.  H.  Davis  &  Co.  At  the  Sacramento  st  end  were  J. 
R.  Rollinson,  ship  &  com.  mer.;  H.  E.  Davison,  gen.  merchandise,  and 
Taaffe  (W.),  Murphy  (D.),  &  McCahill  (G.),  dry  goods,  etc.  Intermediate 
were  the  offices  of  Moore  (R.)  &  Andrews  (Steb.),  the  long-established 
Howard  &  Green  (T.  H.,  the  former  being  before  of  the  firm  Mellus  &  How 
ard),  Capt.  Aaron  Sargent,  Gildemeister  &  De  Fremery  (J.),  all  corn,  mers; 
Grayson  &  Guild  also  had  their  office  here;  A  Hausman,  Goldstein,  &  Co.  cloth 
ing;  J.  W.  Osborn,  chinaware;  Rob.  Sherwood,  watchmaker,  la.ter  capitalist. 
Crane  &  Rice,  proprietors  Cal.  Courier. 

Commercial  street  received  a  great  impulse  from  the  projection  in  May  1849 
of  the  Central  or  Long  wharf,  by  a  company  which  embraced  such  prominent 
citizens  as  Howard,  W.  H.  Davis,  S.  Brannan,  Ward,  Price,  Folsom,  Shilla- 
ber,  Cross,  Hobson  &  Co.,  De  Witt  &  Harrison,  Finley,  Johnson,  &  Co.,  etc., 
.  CAL.,  Vo',.  .  12 


ter,  Magpie,  and  Boar's  Head,  smacked  of  English 
sea-port  resorts,  and  within  them  Australian  slang 

who  subscribed  $120,000  at  once.  By  Dec.,  800  ft  were  finished  at  a  cost  of 
$110,000.  In  June  1850  the  great  fire  destroyed  a  portion,  but  work  was  re 
sumed  and  by  Oct.  it  was  2,000  ft  out,  so  that  the  mail  steamers  could  ap 
proach;  repairs  and  extension  cost  $71,000.  This  drew  trade  rapidly  from 
other  quarters  and  led  to  wharf  extension  in.  different  directions.  Capt.  Gil- 
lespie  was  wharfinger.  Leidesdorff,  so  named  after  the  U.  S.  vice-consul, 
whose  warehouse  stood  at  its  junction  with  California  st,  was  originally  a 
beach  levee.  The  office  of  the  Pacific  Mail  Steamship  Co.,  at  the  s.  E.  comer 
of  Com.  and  Leidesdorff  sts,  was  at  first  a  two-story  house,  20  ft  square. 
After  the  fire  of  June  1850  it  was  moved  to  the  Sacramento  corner  of 
Leidesdorff.  Here  was  also  the  Kremlin  restaurant  and  saloon  of  Nash,  Pat 
ten,  &  Thayer,  with  lodgings  above.  On  the  N.  E.  corner  stood  Hall  &  Ryck- 
man's  (the  latter  3d  president  of  the  vigilance  committee  of  1851)  New  World 
building.  At  the  head  of  the  wharf  was  a  brick  building  bearing  the  conspic 
uous  sign  of  Dan.  Gibb,  com.  mer. ;  his  neighbors  were  R.  B.  Wilkins,  Jas  H. 
Goodman,  Theo.  Norris,  Huffman  &  Brien,  com.  mers;  Endicott,  Greene,  & 
Oakes,  mers;  Smith  &  Block,  grocers  and  com.  mers;  Wm  Thompson,  jr, 
com.  and  ship  broker,  occupied  the  Commercial  building.  Ellis  &  Goin,  of 
Clark  Point,  had  an  office  here  for  a  time.  Along  the  wharf  were  G.  B. 
Bradford,  Huffman  &  Brien,  Qttinger  &  Brown,  Gosse  &  Espie,  Hamilton  & 
Luyster,  Hewes  &  Cutter,  com.  mers;  Quimby,  Harmon,  &  Co.,  shoes;  Bonva- 
lot,  Roux,  &  Co.,  variety  store;  Ferguson,  Reynolds,  &  Co.,  Smith  &  Gavin, 
grocers;  Hoff  &  Ambrose,  at  the  Battery  corner;  the  Prices  Current  office. 

Before  the  Commercial-st  wharf  and  its  rivals  attracted  traffic,  Sacramento 
st  stood  prominent  as  a  reception  place  for  merchandise.  It  had  now  to  join 
in  the  race  toward  deep  water;  to  which  end  Henry  Howison  prolonged  the 
southern  side  of  the  street  till  it  reached,  in  Oct.  1850,  a  length  of  1,100  ft, 
with  a  width  of  40  and  a  depth  of  14  ft  at  high  water.  Stevenson  &  Parker 
extended  the  street  proper  to  Davis  st,  a  distance  of  800  feet,  by  Oct.  1 850, 
and  erected  near  the  end  a  commodious  building.  At  the  end  of  Howison 's  pier 
were  the  storage  brigs  Piedmont  and  Casilda,  belonging  to  Mohler,  Caduc,  &  Co. 
Caduc,  later  ice-dealer,  assisted  in  building  the  pier.  The  Thomas  Bennett, 
brought  out  by  a  Baltimore  firm,  and  controlled  by  Trowbridge,  Morrison,  & 
Co.,  lay  at  the  Sansome-st  corner  for  storage.  None  of  these  appear  to  have 
remained,  according  to  the  map  of  1851,  but  the  Apcllo,  at  the  N.  w.  Battery- 
st  corner,  controlled  by  Beach  &  Lockhart,  did  become  a  fixture.  On  the  s.  w. 
corner  of  Leidesdorff  st  stood  prominent  the  office  of  Dall  (Jos.  &  John) 
&  Austin,  till  the  fire  of  June  1850  drove  them  to  the  Sansome-st  corner.  On 
the  other  side,  above  Leidesdorff  st,  rose  the  three-story  wooden  building  of 
J.  L.  Riddle  &  Co.,  auctioneers,  wherein  acquaintances  could  always  receive 
shelter.  Near  them  were  Levering  &  Gay,  S.  F.  Wisner,  Boarclman,  Bacon, 
&  Co.,  Butler  &  Bartlett,  Hawley  (F.  P.  &  D.  N.),  Sterling  &  Co.  (G.  W. 
Wheeler),  com.  mers;  Totten  &  Eddy,  gen.  jobbers;  R.  F.  Perkins,  mer.; 
R.  D.  Hart  &  Co.,  dry  goods;  Tower,  Wood,  &  Co.,  gen.  store;  D.  C.  Mc- 
Glynn,  paints;  Kennebec  house,  kept  by  T.  M.  Rollins.  Along  the  wharf 
itself  were  Locke  &  Morrison,  com.  mers,  and  Beck  &  Palmer,  ship  and  com. 
mers,  at  the  head;  followed  by  Robinson,  Bissell,  &  Co.  (M.  Gilmore),  Blux- 
ome  &  Co.  (J  D.  C.,  Isaac,  jr,  and  Joseph,  Isaac  being  the  famous  vigilance 
secretary  in  1851  and  1856),  Caughey  &  Bromley,  Everett  &  Co.  (Theo.  Shil- 
laber),  Gardner  Furniss,  Jas  C.  Hasson,  Hunter  &  Bro.,  Dungan,  Moore,  & 
Prendergast,  Orrego  Bros,  Rob.  Wells  &  Co.,  Hussey,  Bond,  &  Hale,  com. 
mers;  Jos,  S.  Spinney,  shipping;  Plummer  &  Brewster,  wholesale  mers;  B. 
Triest,  store;  W.  C.  Hoff,  grocer,  at  end  of  pier.  On  Battery  st  were  Collins 
(D.),  Cushman,  &  Co.,  mers. 

The  section  of  Montgomery  st  between  Sacramento  and  California  had,  in 
1849,  been  transformed  from  an  outskirt  to  a  thickly  settled  business  quarter, 


floated  freely  upon  the  infected  atmosphere.  It  was 
in  fact  the  headquarters  of  the  British  convict  class, 

and  its  prospects  were  significantly  foreshadowed  in  the  location  of  the  cus 
tom-house  in  the  four-story  brick  building  erected  in  1849  by  W.  H.  Davis, 
at  the  N.  w.  corner  of  California  st.  Access  was  by  outside  double  stairways, 
leading  from  balcony  to  balcony  on  the  front  side.  It  appears  to  have  been 
occupied  by  Collector  Jas  Collier  in  June  1850.  In  May  1851  it  was  burned. 
View  in  S.  F.  Annals,  282.  At  the  Calif ornia-st  corner  were  also  A.  Swain, 
com.  mer.,  and  Runkel,  Kaufman,  &  Co.,  dry  goods.  Northward  in  the  sec 
tion  were  situated  the  offices  of  J.  B.  Cannon  &  Co.  (S.  J.  Gowan),  W.  G. 
Kettelle,  aucs  and  com.  mers;  Hinrickson,  Reinecke,  &  Co.  (C.  F.  Cipnani, 
S.  V.  Meyers),  Edwin  Herrick,  S.  Moss,  jr,  Hy.  Reed  &  Co.,  Winston  &  Sim 
mons  (S.  C.),  S.  A.  &  J.  G.  Thayer,  Wm  H.  Davis,  com.  mers,  the  last  long 
established;  M.  L.  Cavert,  J.  A.  Clark,  P.  F.  Hazard,  John  H.  Titcomb,  Titts 
&  Tilden,  P.  D.  Woodruff,  mers;  S.  Brannan,  real  estate  broker;  John  S. 
Eagan,  paints,  two  doors  above  the  custom-house;  S.  Neagebauer,  stationery; 
John  Curry,  counsellor  (later  chief  justice).  A  notable  feature  of  the  section 
was  the  presence  of  several  express  agents, 'Adams  &  Co.,  soon  to  become  a 
banking-house,  Haven  (J.  P.)  &  Co.,  Hawley  &  Co.,  Todd  &  Co.  Here  was 
also  the  office  of  the  Cal.  Courier,  and  Rowe's  Olympic  Circus  formed  a  strong 
attraction  to  this  quarter.  It  had  been  opened  Oct.  29,  1849,  with  Ethiopian 
serenaders,  as  the  first  public  dramatic  spectacle  of  the  city. 

Between  California  and  Clay  sts  I  find  a  number  of  firms,  whose  offices 
are  numbered  from  243 to  2G9,  as  Aspinwall  (J.  &  Ph.)  & Bro.,  A.  B.  Cheshire, 
Jas  Clark,  Van  Drumme  &  Clement,  Mace  &  Cole,  B.  H.  Howell,  J.  S.  Mason, 
E.  R.  Myers,  Turnbull  &  Walton,  Cook,  Wilmerding,  &  Tracy,  Winter  & 
Latimer,  com.  mers;  Wm  Meyer  &  Co.  (Kunhardt,  H.  R.,),  importers,  Capt. 
Thos  Smith,  Fred.  Thibault,  F.  C.  Bennett,  Gus.  Beck,  O.  P.  Sutton,  mers; 
John  Aldersley  &  Co.,  ship  brokers;  Hedley  &  Cozzens,  wholesale  grocers; 
Middleton  (S  P.)  &  Hood  (J.  M.),  Payne  (T.)  &  Sherwood  (W.  J.),  aucs;  Hy. 
Meiggs,  of  North  Beach  and  Peruvian  fame,  lumber  dealer;  Austin  (H.)  & 
Prag,  tinware;  F  D.  Blythe,  hardware. 

California  st  was  in  1850  acquiring  recognition  as  of  business  importance, 
and  Starkey,  Janion,  &  Co.,  who  had  ^ng  been  established  near  the  s.  w. 
corner  of  Sansome,  in  an  enclosed  two-story  house,  gave  strength  to  it  by 
then  erecting  a  fine  brick  warehouse.  So  did  Cooke  (J.  J.  &  G.  L.),  Baker 
(R.  S.),  &  Co.,  and  others  speedily  followed  the  example,  assisting,  moreover, 
to  advance  the  water  frontage,  which  by  Oct.  1850  extended  400  ft  into  the 
cove,  with  a  breadth  of  32  ft.  There  was  a  small  landing-pier  at  Leidesdorff 's 
warehouse,  at  the  Leidesdorff-st  corner.  Here  was  the  store  of  S.  H.  Wil 
liams  &  Co.  (Wm  Baker,  jr,  -and  J.  B.  Post),  in  a  one-story  frame  house,  bor 
dering  on  the  later  Bank  of  California  site.  On  the  opposite  south  side,  Dr 
John  Townsend,  the  large  lot-owner  and  former  alcalde,  had  his  office  and 
residence  West  of  him  were  the  stores  of  Glen  &  Co.  (T.  Glen,  Ed.  Stetson), 
De  Boom,  Vigneaux,  &  Griser,  Backus  &  Harrison,  com.  mers,  and  farther  along 
in  the  section,  Jas  Ball,  Mack  &  Co.,  A.  McQuadale,  Probst  (F.),  Smith  (St. 
A.),  &  Co  ,  J.  B.  Wynn,  Zehricke  &  Co.,  Alsop  &  Co.,  Helmann  Bros  &  Co., 
Hastier,  Baine,  &  Co.,  also  com.  mers;  T.  W.  Dufau,  importer;  Glad  win  (W. 
H.)  &  Whitmore  (H  M.,  a  large  lot-owner  in  S.  F.),  jobbing.  At  the  corner 
of  Sansome  st  were  Ebbets  &  Co.  (D.W.  C.  Brown),  Mumford,  Mason  (B.  A.), 
&  Co  ,  Wm  J,  Whitney,  com.  mers;  and  on  the  site  of  the  present  Merchants' 
Exchange  stood  Mrs  Petit's  boarding-house  (subsequently  on  California  st, 
N  side,  below  Stockton).  An  agency  for  outer  bar  pilots  was  at  Burnside  & 

At  the  s.  w,  corner  of  California  and  Montgomery  sts  stood  Leidesdorff 's 
cottage,  occupied  by  W.  M  D.  Howard,  and  also  at  the  corner  were  the  offices 
of  Jas  Anderson  &  Co  ,  brokers,  J.  H.  Eccleston,  mer.;  V.  Simons,  clothing; 
and  T.  J.  Paulterer,  auc.  At  the  Pine-st  corner  Lazard  Freres  had  a  dry- 


whose  settlement,  known  as  Sydney  Town,  extended 
hence  north-eastward  round  the  hill.  It  \vas  the  ral- 

goods  store,  and  intermediate  on  Montgomery  st  were  Crocker,  Baker,  &  Co., 
water-works;  Fry  (C.)  &  Cessin  (F.),  Evans  &  Robinson,  Kuhtmann  &  Co., 
com.  mers.  The  first  house  on  Summer  st  was  a  1. \-story  cottage,  20  by  40 
ft,  erected  by  Williams  for  Edm.  Scott.  Near  by  were  the  coal-yard  of  A  T. 
Ladd,  and  two  hotels,  the  Montgomery  and  Cape  Cod  houses,  the  latter 
under  the  management  of  Crocker,  Evans,  &  Taylor. 

In  the  next  section  of  Montgomery  st,  between  Pine  and  Bush  sts,  stood 
Liitgen's  hotel,  facing  the  later  Russ  House.  A  strong  two-story  frame 
building  with  peaked  roof  and  projecting  second  story,  it  presented  a  quaint 
old-fashioned  landmark  for  about  a  quarter  of  a  century,  and  formed  one  of 
the  best-known  German  resorts.  On  the  s.  E.  corner  of  Pine  st  figured  a 
corrugated  iron  house  imported  by  Berenhart,  Jacoby,  &  Co.,  and  on  the 
s.  w.  corner  a.  one-and-a-half -story  cottage,  occupied  by  the  German  grocery  of 
Geo.  Soho.  Adjoining  it  rose  a  three-story  pitched-roof  wooden  hotel,  the 
American,  kept  by  a  German,  and  opposite,  on  the  site  of  the  later  Platt's 
hall,  Dr  Enscoe  had  a  wooden  house.  At  the  N.  w.  corner  of  Bush  st  0. 
Kloppenburg  (later  city  treasurer),  kept  a  grocery.  This  west  side  of  the 
block  was  owned  by  J.  C.  C.  &  A.  G.  Russ,  the  jewellers,  who  had  a  house 
011  Bush  st,  and  who  later  erected  the  well-known  Russ  house.  The  cloth 
ing-store  of  Peyser  Bros  was  here,  also  the  syrup  factory  of  Beaudry  &  Co., 
and  the  confectionery  store  of  H.  W.  Lovegrove.  At  the  Bush-st  corner  was 
the  office  of  Haas  &  Struver,  com.  mers,  and  beyond,  toward  Sutter  st,  that 
of  Pierre  Felt,  wine  mer.  This  region  was  as  yet  an  outskirt;  sidewalks  ex 
tended  but  slowly  beyond  California  st  after  the  summer  of  1850,  and  the 
pedestrian  found  it  hard  work  to  go  through  the  sand  drifts  to  the  many 
tents  scattered  around. 

Sansome  st,  as  bordering  the  bay,  had  rather  the  advantage  of  Montgom 
ery  st,  for  here  business  houses  stretched  along  in  considerable  numbers  from 
California  to  Bush  st.  Neighbors  of  Starkey,  Janion,  &  Co. ,  on  the  California 
corner,  were  Wilson  (J.  D. )  &  Jarvis,  wholesale  grocers;  and  at  the  junction 
of  Pine  st  were  the  offices  of  Macondray  (F.  W.)  &  Co.  (R.  S.  Watson),  in  a 
two-story  house;  M.  Rudsdale,  E.  S.  Stone  &  Co.  (F.  T.  Durand),  com.  mers. 
One  of  the  corners  was  held  by  the  Merrimac  house  of  Williams  &  Johnson, 
northward  rose  the  New  England  house  of  W.  B.  Wilton,  and  toward  Bush  the 
New  Bedford  house  of  John  Britnell.  Near  it  was  the  office  of  Town  &  Van 
Winkle,  and  the  lemonade  factory  of  Al.  Wilkie.  On  the  east  side,  between 
California  and  Pine  sts,  the  India  stores  of  Gillespie  (C.  V.)  &  Co.  extended 
over  the  cove.  In  the  same  section,  mostly  on  the  west  side,  were  located 
Dewey  (S.  S.)  &  Heiser,  C.  M.  Seaver,  E.  Woodruff  &  Co.,  mers;  G.  W. 
Burnham,  lumber  dealer;  Davis  (W.  H.)  &  Caldwell's  (J.,  jr)  lemonade 
factory;  E.  S.  Holden  &  Co.  (J.  H.  Redington).  druggists;  S  W.  Jones  & 
Co.,  coal  and  wood  yard. 

On  Pine  st  were  several  offices,  of  T.  F.  Gould,  Chas  Warner,  mers,  above 
Sansome;  Schule,  Christiansen,  &  Hellen,  importers;  W.  H.  Culver,  ship 
mer. ;  Robinson,  Arnold,  &  Sewall,  J.  C.  W^oods  &  Co.,  com.  mers.  This  street 
adjoined  the  wharf  begun  by  the  city  corporation  at  the  end  of  Market  st,  in 
the  autumn  of  1850,  and  limited  for  the  time  to  600  ft.  This  opened  another 
prospect  for  development  in  this  quarter. 

Beyond  Pine  st  huge  sand  ridges  formed  so  far  a  barrier  to  traffic;  yet  in 
between  them,  and  upon  the  slopes,  were  sprinkled  cottages,  shanties,  and 
tents,  with  occasionally  a  deck  house  or  galley  taken  from  some  vessel,  occu 
pied  by  a  motley  class.  A  path  skirted  the  ridge  along  the  cove,  at  the 
junction  of  Bush  and  Battery  sts,  and  entered  by  First  st  into  Happy  Valley, 
which  centred  between  First  and  Second,  Mission  and  Natoma  sts,  and  into 
Pleasant  Valley,  which  occupied  the  Howard-st  end.  This  region,  sheltered 
by  the  ridges  to  the  rear,  which,  on  the  site  of  the  present  Palace  hotel,  rose 


lying-point  for  pillaging  raids,  and  to  it  was  lured 
many  an  unwary  stranger,  to  be  dazed  with  a  sand-bag 

nearly  three  score  feet  in  height,  had  attracted  a  large  number  of  inhabitants, 
especially  dwellers  in  frail  tents,  but  with  a  fair  proportion  of  neat  cottages, 
as  well  as  shops  and  lodging-houses,  among  these  the  Isthmus.  The  advan 
tages  of  this  quarter  for  factories  were  growing  in  appreciation,  especially 
for  enterprises  connected  with  the  repair  of  vessels,  and  soon  J.  &  P.  Dono- 
hue  were  to  found  here  their  iron-works.  On  Fremont  st,  between  Howard 
and  Folsom  sts,  was  the  office  of  H.  Taylor  &  Co.,  com.  and  storage;  and  on 
the  corner  of  Mission  and  First  sts,  that  of  Phil.  McGovern.  On  Second, 
near  Mission  st,  rose  the  Empire  brewery  of  W  Ball,  the  first  of  its  kind. 
The  richer  residents  of  this  region  had  withdrawn  just  beyond  this  line,  and 
on  Mission,  between  Second  and  Third  sts,  dwellings  had  been  erected  by 
Howard,  Mellus  (whose  name  was  first  applied  to  Natoma  st),  and  Brannan, 
whose  names  were  preserved  in  adjoining  streets.  These,  as  well  as  a  few 
more  near  by,  owned  by  Folsom,  were  cottages  imported  by  the  Onward. 
Among  the  occupants  were  the  wives  of  Van  Winkle,  Cary,  and  Wakeman, 
attached  to  the  office  of  Capt.  Folsom,  the  quartermaster.  On  Market  st 
Father  Maginnis1  church  was  soon  to  mark  an  epoch,  and  south-eastward  an 
attenuated  string  of  habitations  reached  as  far  as  Rincon  Point,  where  Dr 
J.  H.  Gihon  had,  in  Nov  1849,  erected  a  rubber  tent,  on  the  later  U.  S. 
marine  hospital  site. 

Thus  far  I  have  enumerated  the  notable  occupants  of  the  heavy  business 
section  along  Montgomery  st  and  water-front  east  of  it,  and  will  now  follow 
the  parallel  streets  running  north  to  south,  Kearny,  Dupont,  Stockton,  and 
Powell,  after  which  come  the  latitudinal  cross-streets  from  the  Presidio  and 
North  Beach  region  toward  the  Mission. 

At  the  foot  of  Telegraph  hill  on  Kearny  st,  from  Broadway  to  Jackson 
st,  began  the  west  and  northward  spreading  Mexican  quarter,  and  the  only 
building  here  of  general  interest  was  the  Adams  house,  kept  by  John  Adams. 
At  the  S.E,  Pacific-st  corner  stood  the  four-story  balcony  building  lately  pur 
chased  for  a  city  hall,  with  jail,  court-rooms,  etc.  In  one  of  the  latter  Rev. 
A.  Williams  held  services  for  the  First  Presbyterian  church.  On  the  opposite 
corner  were  the  Tattersall  livery-stable,  and  the  firms  of  Climax,  Roy,  & 
Breimen,  and  Dunne,  McDonald,  &  Co.,  com.  mers  and  real  estate.  Along 
toward  Jackson  st  were  the  offices  of  Markwald,  Caspary,  &  Co.,  mers;  of 
Dow(J.  G.)  &  Co.  (J.  O.  Eldridge),  auc.  and  com.  mers;  S  McD  Thompson, 
gen.  store;  Mebius,  Duisenberry,  &  Co.,  fancy  goods;  the  Pacific  News  daily 
was  issued  here  by  Winchester  &  Allen.  Mrs  E.  Gordon  kept  the  Mansion 
house.  In  the  section  between  Jackson  and  Washington  sts  business  ap 
proached  more  and  more  the  retail  element  for  which  Kearny  has  ever  been 
noted.  At  the  Jackson-st  corners  two  druggists  faced  each  other,  S.  Adam  * 
and  E.  P.  Sanford;  Reynolds  &  Co.  were  grocers,  and  G.  &  W.  Snook,  tin 
and  stove  dealers.  There  were,  however,  a  jobbing-house,  Cooper  &  Co  ,  and 
three  aiictioneers,  Shankland  &  Gibson,  Allen  Pearce,  and  Sampson  &  Co 
H.  H.  Haight,  counsellor  and  later  governor,  had  his  office  at  the  Jackson-st 
corner;  the  Mariposa  house  was  kept  by  B.  Vallefon;  and  the  well-known 
English  ale-house,  the  Boomerang,  by  Langley  &  Griffiths,  was  widely  pat 
ronized  by  literary  men  and  actors. 

These  last  two  features  formed  the  main  element  of  the  next  section,  the 
plaza  of  Portsmouth  square,  strongly  reenforced  by  gambling-halls.  The  most 
noted  of  these  establishments,  the  El  Dorado,  controlled  in  1850  by  Cham 
bers  &  Co.,  stood  at  the  s.  E.  corner  of  Washington  st  Successive  fires 
changed  it  from  a  canvas  structure  to  a  frame  building,  and  finally  P.  Sherre- 
beck,  who  owned  the  lot,  erected  upon  it  the  Our  House  refectory.  Adjoin 
ing  it  on  the  south  was  the  famous  Parker  house,  hostelry  and  gambling-place, 
managed  in  1850  by  Thos  Maguire  &  Co. ,  who  here  soon  promoted  the  erec 
tion  of  the  Jenny  Lind  theatre  upon  the  site,  which  again  yielded  to  the  city 


blow,  and  robbed,  perhaps  to  be  hurled  from  some 
Tarpeian  projection  into  the  bay.  West  of  this  quar- 

hall,  as  described  elsewhere.  Its  former  neighbor,  Denison's  Exchange,  for 
liquors  and  cards,  had  been  absorbed  by  other  enterprises,  and  southward 
along  the  row  in  1850  figured  the  Empire  house  of  Dodge  &  Bucklin,  and  the 
Crescent  City  house  of  Winley  &  Lear,  the  firm  of  Thurston  &  Reed,  and  the 
dry-goods  establishment  of  B.  F.  Davega  &  Co.  Opposite,  on  the  s.  w.  cor 
ner  of  Clay,  stood  that  YerbaBuena  landmark,  the  story -and-a-half  tiled  adobe 
City  hotel,  devoted,  with  out-buildings,  to  travellers,  gamblers,  and  offices,  the 
latter  including  for  a  time  those  of  the  alcaldes.  Higher  on  Clay  st  rose  the 
well-known  Ward  or  Bryant  house,  and  intermediate  the  offices  of  F.  Argenti 
&  Co.  (T.  Allen),  bankers;  Peter  Dean,  Berford  &  Co.'s  express,  and  Baldwin  & 
Co.,  jewellers.  Another  jewelry  firm,  Loring  &  Hogg,  occupied  Ward's  court. 

Along  the  west  side  of  the  plaza  stood  the  public  school-house,  which  had 
been  converted  into  concert  hall  and  police-station,  and  the  adobe  custom 
house  bordering  on  Washington  st,  which  had  been  used  for  municipal  offices 
for  a  time.  Down  along  Washington  st  the  A  Ita  California  publishing  office  of 
E.  Gilbert  &  Co.  faced  the  plaza,  and  eastward  to  the  corner  were  the  bank 
ing-house  of  Palmer,  Cook,  &  Co.  and  the  offices  of  Glaysen  £  Co.  (W.  Tinte- 
man),  and  Stevenson  (J.  D.)  &  Parker  (W.  C.),  land  agents.  Theirs  was  an 
adobe  building  in  1850,  replacing  the  Colonnade  hotel  of  1848,  and  soon  to 
yield  to  other  occupants,  notably  the  Bella  Union.  Wright  &  Co.'s  Miners' 
bank,  which  stood  at  this  corner  a  while,  may  be  said  to  have  revived  in  the 
Veranda  on  the  N.  E.  corner.  On  the  plaza  was  also  Laffan's  building,  chiefly 
with  lawyers'  offices,  as  Wilson,  Benham,  &  Rice,  Nath.  Holland,  Ogden 
Hoffman,  jr,  Norton,  Satterlee,  &  Norton.  Along  Kearny  st,  toward  Sac 
ramento  st,  were  the  offices  of  Thurston  &  Reed,  P.  D.  Van  Blarcom,  com. 
mers;  Ansalin,  Merandol,  &  Co.,  importers,  on  the  Sacramento  corner;  C. 
Lux,  stock  dealer;  Newfield,  Walter,  &  Co.,  Treadwell  &  Co.,  S.  Howard, 
clothing,  etc. ;  the  Commercial-st  corners  were  occupied  by  Van  Houten  & 
Co.'s  meat  market;  here  the  Tammany  Hall  of  the  Hounds,  and  Rowe's  cir 
cus  had  stood  a  while,  facing  the  adobe  dwelling  of  Vioget,  the  surveyor,  in 
which,  or  adjoining,  Madam  Rosalie  kept  a  restaurant.  Opposite  were  the 
noted  New  York  bakery  of  Swan  &  Thompson,  and  San  Jose  hotel  of  T.  N. 
Starr  (or  J.  G-.  Shepard  &  Co.). 

In  the  next  section  toward  California  st  were  established  Adelsdorfer  & 
Schwarz,  McDonald  (W.  F.  &  S.  G.)  &  Co.  (J.  K.  Bailey,  A.  T.  Cool,  J.  M. 
Teller),  Kroning,  Plump,  &  Runge,  com.  mers,  the  latter  at  the  California 
corner;  A.  H.  Sibley  &  Co. ;  at  the  Sacramento  corner  were  also  B.  Courtois' 
dry-goods  store;  Mrs  C.  Bouch,  crockery;  Merchants'  hotel.  Between  Cali 
fornia  and  Pine  sts  appears  to  have  been  another  New  York  bakery,  by  R. 
W.  Acker,  and  near  the  present  California  market  was  the  Kearny-st  market 
by  Blattner  &  Smith.  Here  were  also  three  groceries  of  Atter  &  Carter,  Lam- 
mer  &  Waterman,  and  Potter  and  Lawton;  Geo.  A.  Worn,  Ed.  Porter,  Eug. 
Bottcher,  and  C.  F.  Dunoker  are  marked  as  com.  mers,  the  latter  two  at 
the  California  corner,  and  Porter  south  of  Pine  st.  Beyond  Pine  were  Chip- 
man,  Brown,  &  Co. ,  grocers,  Hy.  Rapp,  storage,  Brown's  (Phil. )  hotel,  and  the 
Masonic  hall,  followed  by  scattered  dwellings  along  the  new  plank  road  to 
the  mission.  Dupont  st  partook  of  the  Kearny-st  elements  of  business, 
though  little  contaminated  by  gambling.  The  northern  part  was  assigned  to 
residences,  among  them  the  dwellings  of  W.  S.  Clark,  the  broker,  and  Rev. 
A.  Williams,  between  Vallejo  and  Pacific  sts.  At  the  latter  corner  Morgan 
&  Batters  kept  a  grocery,  and  beyond  rose  the  Globe  hotel  of  Mrs  B.  V. 
Koch,  the  dry-goods  shop  of  Cohen,  Kaufmann,  &  Co.,  and  the  office  of  C. 
Koch,  mer.  At  the  Jackson-st  corners  of  Dupont  st  stood  the  Albion  house 
of  B.  Keesing,  and  Harm's  (H.)  hotel;  and  here,  at  the  N.  E.  corner,  a  three- 
story  building  was  contracted  for  in  Sept.  1849  by  the  California  guard,  the 
first  military  company  of  the  city,  for  $21,000.  At  the  Washington-st  cor- 


ter,  up  Yallejo  and  Broadway  streets,  with  the  Catho 
lic  church  and  bull-ring,  and  northward  along  the  hill, 

ner  was  another  hotel,  the  Excellent  house  of  Jas  Dyson,  also  the  dry-goods 
shop  of  Hess  &  Bros,  the  office  of  Maume  &  Dee,  and  the  residence  of 
G.  Beck.  Intermediate  were  Mich.  Casaforth,  mer.,  and  Johnson  &  Co., 

In  the  section  south  of  Washington  st  stood  on  the  east  side  the  houses  of 
Gillespie  and  Noe;  at  the  north-west  corner  of  Clay  the  casa  grande  of 
Richardson,  on  the  site  of  his  tent,  the  first  habitation  in  Yerba  Buena,  and 
which  stood  till  1852.  On  the  opposite  west  corner,  the  site  of  the  first  house 
in  Yerba  Buena,  Leese's,  rose  the  St  Francis  hotel,  a  three-story  edifice  formed 
of.  several  superimposed  imported  cottages  managed  by  W.  H.  Parker. 

On  the  opposite  corner  Moffat  &  Co.,  assayers  and  bankers,  and  Sill  & 
Conner's  stationery  and  book  shop,  the  first  regular  stationery  store  in  the 
city,  it  is  claimed.  Northward,  Mullot  &  Co.,  com.  mers.  and  Jos.  Smith's 
provision  shop. 

On  the  Sacramento-st  corner  Nath.  Gray  had  an  undertakers  shop; 
and  at  the  California  end  Jas  Dows,  of  vigilance  fame,  had  a  liquor  store. 
Beyond  him  C.  L.  Taylor  exhibited  the  sign  of  a  lumber  and  com.  mer. 
Stockton  st  was  essentially  for  residences,  with  many  neat  houses  from 
Clay  st  northward.  At  Green  st  stood  a  two-story  dwelling  from  Boston, 
occupied  by  F.  Ward,  and  removed  only  in  1865;  opposite  was  the  lumber 
yard  of  A.  W.  Renshaw,  and  a  little  northward  Hy.  Pierce's  Eagle  bakery; 
at  the  Vallejo  corner  P.  F.  Sander wasser  kept  a  grocery;  southward  rose  the 
American  hotel,  which  was  for  a  time  the  city  hall,  the  residences  of  Gilder- 
meister  and  De  Fremery,  and  south  of  Broadway,  Merrill's  house.  At  the 
N.  E.  Pacific  corner  was  the  Shades  tavern  of  1848,  and  southward  the  gro 
cery  of  Eddy  (J.  C.)  &  Co.  At  the  WTashington-st  corners  were  the  houses  of 
W.  D.  M.  Howard,  and  Palmer,  of  Beck  &  Palmer;  and  at  the  Sacramento 
end,  those  of  Jas  Bowles,  Jonat  Cade,  and  Crumme,  mers.  Powell  st,  of  the 
same  stamp  as  the  preceding,  was  graced  by  the  presence  of  three  churches: 
Trinity,  Rev.  F.  S.  Mines;  Methodist  Episcopal,  Rev.  W.  Taylor;  and  Grace 
Chapel,  Rev.  S.  L.  Ver  Mehr.  The  latter  two  resided  on  Jackson  st  near 
Powell.  Rev.  0.  C.  Wheeler  lived  at  the  corner  of  Union.  Three  other 
temples  existed  on  adjoining  cross-streets.  At  the  N.  w.  Washington  corner 
a  two-story  brick  building  was  about  to  be  erected,  which  with  subsequent 
changes  in  grades  received  two  additional  stories.  At  the  N.  E.  corner  of 
Broadway  0.  Mowry  had  an  adobe  cottage;  at  the  corners  of  Green  st  lived 
C.  Hoback  and  Chas  Joseph. 

At  the  corner  of  Filbert  st  was  the  adobe  dwelling  of  Ira  Briones,  by  which 
the  main  path  to  the  presidio  turned  westward  to  cross  the  Russian  hill, 
past  market  gardens  and  dairies,  with  scattered  cottages,  sheds,  and  butch 
ers'  shambles.  On  the  ridge  stood  the  house  of  L.  Haskell,  overlooking  the 
hollow  intervening  toward  Black  Point,  beyond  which  lay  Washerwoman's 
lagoon,  a  name  confirmed  to  it  by  the  laundry  here  established  by  A.  T. 
Easton,  patronized  by  the  Pacific  mail  line.  The  presidio  was  then  not  the 
trim  expanse  of  buildings  now  to  be  seen,  but  stood  represented  by  some 
dingy -looking  idobes,  supplemented  by  barn-like  barracks,  and  a  few  neater 
cottages  for  the  officers,  while  beyond,  at  the  present  Fort  Point,  crumbling 
walls  fronted  the  scanty  earth- works  with  their  rusty,  blustering  guns. 

North  Bench  was  becoming  known  as  a  lumber  depository.  Geo.  H. 
Ensign  figured  as  dealer  in  this  commodity,  and  near  him,  on  Mason  by 
Francisco  st,  Harry  Meiggs,  of  dawning  aldermanic  fame,  had  availed  him 
self  of  the  brook  fed  by  two  springs  to  erect  a  saw-mill.  Close  by  stood 
Capt.  Welsh's  hide-house,  by  the  road  leading  to  the  incipient  wharf  which 
foreshadowed  a  speedy  and  more  imposing  structure. 

On  Union  st,  near  Mason,  Wm  Sharron,  broker  and  commission  merchant, 
had  his  residence.  On  Green  st  the  number  of  resident  business  men  in- 


the  Hispano- Americans  were  grouping  round  what  was 
then  termed  Little  Chile;  while  less  concentrated,  the 

creased.  A.  Hugues  and  Rob.  McClenachan  lived  near  Stockton  and  Tay 
lor,  respectively,  and  Levi  Stowell,  of  Williams  &  Co.,  near  the  former. 
Between  Stockton  and  Powell  Capt.  Tibbey,  as  he  declares  in  his  Stat.,  MS., 
19,  had  erected  a  section-made  house  from  Hawaii  for  his  wife.  A  similar 
house  from  Boston,  near  Stockton  st,  was  in  1850  occupied  by  F.  Ward.  It 
stood  till  1865.  On  Vallejo  were  to  be  found  G.  Bilton,  Rob.  Graham,  Edm. 
Hodson,  and  Thos  Smith,  merchants,  between  Stockton  and  Powell.  In  the 
block  below  rose  the  Roman  Catholic  church,  and  by  its  side  extended  the 
bull-fighting  arena,  so  dear  to  the  Mexicans  as  a  compensatory  aftermath  to 
the  solemn  restraint  of  the  worship.  All  around  and  along  the  slopes  of  Tele 
graph  hill  extended  the  dwellings  of  this  nationality,  and  among  them,  on 
Broadway  between  Stockton  and  Dupont,  the  more  imposing  quarter  of  Jos. 
Sanchez,  broker.  The  block  below,  between  Dupont  and  Montgomery,  has 
been  alluded  to  as  containing  an  undesirable  collection  of  low  drinking-dens, 
fringed  by  the  abodes  of  Sydney  convicts  and  other  scum. 

On  Pacific  st  began  the  business  district  proper  once  more,  sprinkled  with 
several  inns,  such  as  Crescent  house  of  S.  Harding,  Mclntire  house,  Planter's 
hotel  of  J.  Stigall,  and  Waverly  house  of  B.  F.  Bucknell,  the  latter  a  four- 
story  frame  building,  on  the  less  reputable  north  side,  charging  $5  a  day.  In 
this  block,  between  Montgomery  and  Kearny,  were  the  offices  of  Boschultz 
&  Miller,  and  Brown  &  Phillips,  merchants;  Salmon  &  Ellis,  ship  and  com. 
mer.;  Wilson  &  Co.,  grocers,  Jackson  &  Shirley,  crockery  and  grocery. 
Above,  between  Kearny  and  Dupont,  resided  J.  B.  Weller,  subsequently  gov 
ernor,  of  the  firm  of  Weller,  Jones,  &  Kinder;  near  by  W.  H.  West  kept  a 
grocery,  and  A.  A.  Austin  a  bakery.  Higher  up  toward  Stockton  were  Fox, 
O'Connor,  and  Gumming,  and  F.  Kauffman  &  Co.,  dry-goods  dealers.  Ad 
joining  stood  a  groggery  which  had  since  1846  dispensed  refreshments  to  way 
farers  to  the  presidio.  Above,  between  Mason  and  Powell,  rose  Bunker  Hill 
house,  graced  for  a  time  by  the  later  bankers  Flood  and  O'Brien.  On  Jack 
son  st,  between  Mason  and  Powell,  were  several  prominent  residents,  includ 
ing  C.  H.  Cook,  com.  mer.,  and  at  the  Stockton  corner  lived  W.  H.  Davis. 
At  the  corner  of  Virginia  st,  a  lane  stretching  below  Powell  st,  between  Broad 
way  and  Washington,  stood  the  First  Congregational  church,  Rev.  T.  D.  Hunt. 
Here  was  also  the  office  of  Blanchard  &  Carpenter.  Below  Stockton  were  Mayer, 
Bro.,  &  Co.,  grocers;  C.  Prechet&  Co.,  druggists;  H.  M.  Snyder,  stoves.  Below 
Dupont,  Capt.  W.  Chard,  Carter,  Fuller,  &  Co.,  Hy.  Mackie,  Ben.  Reynolds, 
Jas  Stevenson,  com.  mers;  Chas  Durbee,  mer.;  Johnson  &  Caufield,  clothing; 
J.  Leclere,  gen.  store;  J.  Benelon,  French  store.  The  Ohio  house  is  placed  here, 
and  the  Philadelphia  house  where  began  the  fire  of  Sept.  1850,  and  below  Kearny 
the  California  house  of  J.  Cotter  &  Co.  Here  flourished  the  Evening  Picayune, 
Gihon  &  Co.,  and  two  French  establishments,  Dupasquier  &  Co.,  and  F.  Schultz' 
French-goods  shop;  S.  Martin,  importer;  W.  &  C.  Pickett,  Schesser  &  Vaii- 
bergen,  mers;  J.  &  M.  Phelan,  wholesale  liquor  dealers;  Joel  Noah,  clothing. 

On  Washington  st,  at  the  corner  of  Mason,  stood  H.  Husband's  bath 
house;  below  was  the  grocery  of  W.  E.  Rowland;  and  between  Stockton  and 
Dupont  sts  C.  S.  Bates  kept  a  druggist  shop.  Above  this,  the  First  Baptist 
church,  Rev.  0.  C.  Wheeler.  At  the  corner  of  Washington  lane,  which  ran 
below  Dupont  to  Jackson  st,  Bauer's  drug-store  was  first  opened.  Below 
Kearny  st  ran  another  cross-lane  to  Jackson,  Maiden  lane,  on  which  C.  Nut 
ting  had  established  a  smithy  and  iron-works,  while  adjoining  him,  on  the 
corner,  were  the  Washington  baths  of  Mygatt  &  Bryant.  Opposite  this  lane, 
to  Merchant  st,  ran  Dunbar  alley,  so  named  after  Dunbar's  California  bank, 
at  its  mouth.  At  the  parallel  passage,  De  Boom  avenue,  A.  Miiller  had 
opened  a  hotel,  and  near  by  a  brick  building  was  going  up  for  theatrical  pur 
poses.  On  the  north  side  C.  L.  Ross  had  in  1848-9  kept  his  New  York  store. 
In  the  same  section,  between  Kearny  and  Montgomery  sts,  were  the  offices 


cognate  French  sought  their  proximity  along  Jackson 
street,  with  two  hotels  offering  significant  welcome  at 

of  Bodenheim  &  Sharff,  Dundar  &  Gibbs,  Reynolds  &  Letter,  Marriesse  & 
Burthey,  Medina,  Hartog,  &  Co.,  J.  S.  Moore  &  Co.  (F.  Michael),  Morris,  Levi, 
&  Co.,  F.  Gibbs,  Gallarid,  Hart,  &  Co.,  Arnold  &  Winter,  coin,  mers;  P. 
Schloss  &  Co.,  mers;  L.  &  J.  Blum,  L.  A.  Hart  &  Co.,  Steinberger  &  Kauf 
man,  A.  Kiser,  Rosenzweig  &  Lask,  M.  Levi  &  Co.,  Potedamer  &  Rosenbaum, 
clothing;  W.  D.  Forman  &  Co.,  grocers;  Hastings  &  Co.  (S.  &  T.  W.),  variety 
store;  Smiley  (Jas),  Korn,  &  Co.,  hardware;  Rob.  Turnbull,  broker. 

At  the  head  of  Clay  st  stood  the  City  hospital  of  Dr  P.  Smith,  destroyed 
Oct.  31,  1850.  Near  by,  above  Stockton  st,  was  the  paper  warehouse  of  G. 
A.  Brooks  and  the  house  of  Jas  Crook,  mer.  Below  Stockton  st  ran  the 
parallel  Pike  st,  at  the  corner  of  which  stood  the  post-office,  at  a  rental  of 
$7,200  a  year.  Since  its  first  location  on  the  N.  w.  corner  of  Washington 
and  Montgomery  sts  it  had  been  moved  to  the  N.  E.  corner  of  Washington 
and  Stockton,  then  to  the  above  location,  and  in  1851  to  a  zinc-covered  build 
ing  on  the  N.  E.  corner  of  Dupont  and  Clay  sts.  So  much  for  the  instability 
which  stamped  the  city  and  county  generally  in  these  early  days.  At  the 
other  corner  rose  the  Bush  house  of  Hy.  Bush,  a  few  steps  above  the  fashion 
able  St  Francis  hotel,  and  opposite  Woodruff's  jewelry  shop.  On  Pike  st, 
tha  latter  well-known  R.  B.  Woodward  kept  a  coffee  shop.  Near  by,  on 
Clay  st,  resided  Allen  Pierce  and  A.  A.  Selover.  Between  Dupont  st  and 
the  plaza  was  the  book-store  of  Wilson  £  Spaulding,  and  the  hardware  shop 
of  Aug.  Morrison.  Clay  st  below  Kearny  was  mainly  a  dry-goods  row,  to 
judge  from  the  number  of  the  dealers,  as  Lacombe  &  Co.,  importers;  W.  E. 
Keyes,  Hy.  Kraft  &  Co.,  Moore,  Tickenor,  &  Co.,  Josiah  Morris,  on  Clay  st 
row,  J.  B.  Simpson,  Ulmer  &  Co.,  Oscar  Uny,  dealers;  besides  Geo.  Bergo, 
Lewis  Lewis,  Isaac  Myers,  who  advertised  both  dry  goods  and  clothing,  there 
were  also  the  special  clothing-stores  of  Heller,  Lehman,  &  Co.  ( W.  Cohen),  Jos. 
Goldstein,  Langfield,  &  Co.  (S.  &  J.  Haningsberger),  Kelsey,  Smith,  &  Risley. 
The  street  boasted  moreover  of  two  bankers,  Page  (F.  W.),  Bacon,  &  Co. 
(D.  Chambers,  Hy.  Haight)  and  B.  Davidson,  agent  for  Rothschild;  C.  Platt, 
mer. ;  Cohn  Kauflinan  &  Co.  (A.  Ticroff ),  W.  M.  Jacobs,  Sinton  &  Bagley, 
Hawks,  Parker,  &  Co.,  Larned  &  Sweet,  Pioche  &  Bayerque,  com.  mers,  and 
several  connected  with  dry  goods;  P.  Rutledge  &  Co.,  tinsmiths;  Bennett  & 
Kirby,  hardware;  Tillman  &  Dunn,  manuf.  jewellers;  Hayes  &  Bailey  (or 
Lyndall),  jewellers;  M.  Lewis,  importer  of  watches;  Stedman  &  White, 
watchmakers;  Sanchez  Bros  (B.  &  S.),  real  estate  brokers;  Marriott  (F.)  & 
Anderson,  monetary  agents,  in  Cross  &  Hobson's  building,  on  the  N.  side, 
half-way  to  Montgomery  st;  opposite  had  long  stood  Vioget's  or  Portsmouth 
house.  Dr  A.  J.  Bowie,  and  Dr  Wm  Rabe,  druggist;  Chipman  &  \Voodman's 
Clay-st  reading-rooms;  C.  Elleard's  oyster-rooms,  N.  side;  Adelphi  theatre,  s. 

On  the  short  parallel  Commercial  st,  not  yet  fully  opened,  figured  the 
Commercial-street  house,  P.  S.  Gordon;  the  Atheneum  Exhibition  of  Dr 
Colyer;  J.  W.  Tucker,  jeweller;  G.  W.  Dart,  drinking-saloon,  and  about  to 
open  baths  on  Montgomery  st. 

Sacramento  st  was  already  becoming  known  as  Little  China,  from  the  es 
tablishment  of  some  Mongol  merchants  upon  its  north  line,  on  either  side  of 
Dupont  st,  but  this  had  not  as  yet  involved  a  loss  of  caste,  for  several  promi 
nent  people  occupied  the  section  between  Dupont  and  Kearny  st.  Folsom 
lived  in  a  house  built  by  Leidesdorff  on  the  N.  side;  Halleck,  Peachy,  &  Bil 
lings,  counsellors,  Piingsthorn,  Hey  man,  &  Co.,  com.  mers,  Gibson  £  Tibbits, 
had  their  offices  here;  Convert  &  Digrol  kept  a  fancy-goods  shop;  Selby  (T.) 
&  Post  (Phil.),  metal  dealers.  In  the  section  below  Kearny  st:  Fitzgerald, 
Bausch,  Brewster,  &  Co.,  Simonsfield,  Bach,  £  Co.,  W.  M.  Coughlin,  Cramer, 
Raubach,  &  Co.,  gen.  importers;  Spech  £  Baugher,  G.  H.  Beach,  J.  B.  &  A. 
J.  George,  D.  S.  Hewlett  &  Co.  (B.  Richardson),  Tower,  Wood,  £  Co.,  D.  J. 


Clark  Point.  Little  China  was  already  forming  on 
Sacramento  street,  and  the  widely  scattered  Germans 
had  a  favorite  resort  at  the  end  of  Montgomery  street. 

Mavrenner  (of  Wallis  &Co.,  Stockton),  Lambert  &  Co.  (F.  F.  Low,  later  gov.), 
com.  iners;  F.  Ro^enbaum,  dry  goods  &  jobbing;  Cooper  &  Co.  (J.  &  I.), 
Simon  Heiter,  S.  Rosenthal,  H.  Unger,  Adelsdorfer  &  Neustadter,  dry  goods; 
J.  M.  Caughlin,  Simmons,  Lilly,  &  Co.,  Swift  &  Bro.  (S.  &  J.),  gen.  dealers; 
Jos.  E.  de  la  Montana,  stoves,  etc. ;  Kelly  &  Henderson,  J.  Sharp,  Tyler  & 
Story,  grocers;  D.  J.  Oliver  £  Co.,  D.  C.  McGlynn,  paints;  Geo.  Vowels, 
furniture;  Byron  house,  by  Bailey  &  Smith,  and  the  Raphael  and  Marye  res 
taurants.  The  third  wooden  house  on  the  street  was  imported  by  Bluxome, 
the  famous  vigilance  secretary,  and  in  this,  probably  a  double  cottage,  J.  R. 
Garniss  had  his  office.  On  California  st,  below  Stockton,  were  the  fashion 
able  boarding-houses  of  Mrs  Petit  and  Leland,  both  on  the  N.  side,  the  Mur 
ray  house  of  Jas  Hair,  and  among  residences,  those  of  Whitmore,  bought  of 
Rodman  Price  and  Gen.  Cazneau,  a  three-story  frame  building,  of  sections 
rescued  from  a  wreck.  It  stood  on  the  s.  w.  corner  of  Dupont  st.  On  the 
north  side,  near  Kearny  st,  in  a  two-story  house,  lived  the  rich  and  erratic 
Dr  Jones,  dressing  like  a  grandee,  and  hoarding  gold,  it  was  said.  In  the 
section  below  Kearny  st  was  the  U.  S.  quartermaster's  office,  Capt.  Folsom; 
Salas,  Bascunen,  Fehrman,  &  Co.,  Ed.  Vischer,  Hort  Bros,  White  Bros,  0.  B. 
Jennings,  mers  and  importers;  Louis  Bruch,  Esche,  Wapler,  &  Co.,  Ruth, 
Tissot  (S.  C.),  &  Co.,  com.  mers,  the  latter  two  at  the  corner  of  Spring  st;  J. 
S.  Hershaw,  gen.  grocer;  P.  Naylor,  iron,  tin,  etc.,  in  the  brick  building 
erected  on  the  later  Cal.  market  site,  for  Fitzgerald,  Bausch,  &  Brewster; 
Nelson  &  Baker,  blacksmiths,  on  Webb  st.  In  this  lane  Capt.  Hewlitt,  of 
tha  New  York  volunteers,  built  a  boarding-house,  on  the  w.  side,  and  here 
was  the  residence  of  the  Fuller  family,  which  owned  half  the  block.  Jas 
Ward  had  a  cottage  nearer  Montgomery  st,  which  became  a  boarding-house, 
perhaps  the  Duxbury  hous'e  of  Alb.  Marshall.  The  Elephant  house  of  A.  G-. 
Oakes,  and  the  Dramatic  museum  of  Robinson  &  Everard,  were  not  far  from 
the  Circus  site. 

Southward  we  come  once  more  to  the  odd  scattered  habitations,  shanties, 
and  tents,  which  intervened  between  the  bare  sand  hills  and  chaparral-fringed 
hollow.  On  Pine  st,  above  Montgomery  st,  I  find  the  office  of  E.  Brown, 
mer.,  and  Richelieu's  hotel  with  its  French  restaurant.  Along  Kearny  st 
to  Third,  and  up  Mission  st  led  the  path  to  Mission  Dolores,  much  frequented, 
especially  on  Sundays,  and  by  equestrians,  for  the  sand  made  walking  too 
tiresome.  This  route  was  now  about  to  be  improved  by  the  construction 
of  a  plank  road,  under  grant  of  Nov.  1850,  for  seven  years,  to  C.  L.  Wilson 
and  his  partners,  with  a  stock  of  $150,000.  It  was  finished  by  the  following 
spring  for  $96,000,  and  paid  eight  per  cent  monthly  interest  to  the  share 
holders.  The  toll  charged  was  25  cents  for  a  mounted  man,  75  c.  for  vehicles, 
$1  for  wagons  with  four  animals;  driven  stock,  5  or  10  cts.  The  toll-gate 
was  moved  successively  from  Post  st,  Third  st,  Mission  and  Fourth,  and  be 
yond.  In  some  places,  as  at  Seventh  st,  the  swamps  were  such  as  to  make 
piling  useless  and  require  corduroy  formation,  yet  this  settled  in  time  five 
feet.  The  city  was  too  heavily  in  debt  to  undertake  the  construction;  and 
while  the  mayor  vetoed  the  grant  to  a  private  firm,  the  legislature  confirmed 
it.  By  selling  half  the  interest  Wilson  got  funds  to  complete  the  road. 
Subsequently  the  company  opened  Folsom  st  to  ward  off  competition,  and 
still  divided  three  per  cent  a  month.  For  details  concerning  the  plank  road, 
see  Pac.  News,  Picayune,  Nov.  4,  20,  1850,  et  seq.;  Hittelts  S.  F.,  151-3; 
Annals  S.  F.,  297-8;  Bart-y  and  Pattens  Men  and  Mem.,  108-9. 

Mission  st  presented  the  best  exit  south-westward,  for  Market  st  re 
mained  obstructed  long  after  1856  by  several  ridges,  one  hill  at  the  corner  of 
Dupont  st  alone  measuring  89  ft  in  height.  The  hill  at  Second  st,  fiercely 
contested  by  squatters  in  the  early  fifties  against  Woodworth,  the  vigilance 


Dupont  street  bore  a  more  sedate  appearance,  with 
its  mixture  of  shops  and  residences,  its  armory  at 
Jackson  street  for  the  first  city  guard,  and  its  land 
marks  in  Richardson's  casa  grande  on  the  site  of  his 
tent,  the  first  habitation  in  Yerba  Buena,  and  in 
Leese's  house,  the  first  proper  building  of  the  pueblo, 
both  at  the  Clay-street  corners  below  the  post-office. 
Stockton  street,  stretching  from  Sacramento  to  Green 
streets,  presented  the  neatest  cluster  of  dwellings, 
and  Powell  street  was  the  abode  of  churches;  for  of 
the  six  temples  in  operation  in  the  middle  of  1850, 
three  graced  its  sides,  and  two  stood  upon  cross-streets 
within  half  a  block.  Mason  street,  above  it,  was 
really  the  western  limit  of  the  city,  as  Green  street 
was  the  northern.  Beyond  Mason  street  ran  the  trail 
to  the  presidio,  past  scattered  cottages,  cabins,  and 
sheds,  midst  dairies  and  gardens,  with  a  branch  path 

president,  had  by  that  time  vanished  into  the  bay.  Nevertheless,  there  were 
a  few  early  occupants  on  the  upper  Market  st.  At  the  Stockton  and  Ellis 
junction  J.  Sullivan  had  a  cottage,  Merrill  one  on  the  later  Jesuit  college  site, 
and  011  Mason  st  near  Eddy,  Hy.  Gerke  of  viticultural  fame  rejoiced  in  an  at 
tractive  two-story  peaked-roof  residence;  near  by  lived  a  French  gardener. 
This  was  the  centre  of  Saint  Ann  Valley,  through  which  led  a  less-used  trail 
to  the  mission,  by  way  of  Bush  and  Stockton  sts,  passing  Judge  Burritt's 
house  and  Dr  Gates'  at  the  s.w.  corner  of  Geary  and  Stockton  sts,  facing  the 
high  sand  hill  which  covered  the  present  Union  square.  At  the  s.  w.  end  of 
this  square  rose  a  three-story  laundry.  The  site  of  the  present  city  hall,  at 
the  junction  of  McAllister  st,  the  authorities  in  Feb.  1850  set  aside  for  the 
Yerba  Buena  cemetery,  Ver  Mehrs  Checkered  Life,  344,  which  had  first  existed 
at  the  bay  terminus  of  Vallejo  st,  and  subsequently  for  a  brief  time  on  the 
north-west  slope  toward  North  Beach,  near  Washington  square.  Beiiton,  in 
Hayes1  Cal.  Notes,  v.  60.  The  new  site  was  the  dreariest  of  them  all,  relieved 
by  a  solitary  manzanita  with  blood-red  stalk  midst  the  stunted  shrubbery. 

From  the  cemetery  a  path  led  past  C.  V.  Gillespie's  house  to  Mission  st, 
at  Sixth  st,  where  began  a  bridge  for  crossing  the  marsh  extending  to  Eighth 
st.  To  the  left,  at  the  s.  w.  corner  of  Harrison  and  Sixth,  or  Simmons  st, 
Russ,  the  jeweller,  had  a  country  residence  which  was  soon  opened  as  a  pleas 
ure  garden,  especially  for  Germans.  John  Center,  the  later  capitalist,  was  a 
gardener  in  the  vicinity.  At  the  mouth  of  Mission  creek  lived  Rosset. 
Beyond  the  bridge  Stepnen  C.  Massett,  '  Jeemes  Pipes,' had  for  a  time  a 
cottage.  Then  came  the  Grizzly  road-side  inn,  near  Potter  st,  with  its  chained 
bear.  Further  back  stood  the  Half-way  house  of  Tom  Hayes,  with  inviting 
shrubbery.  Near  the  present  Woodward's  Gardens  a  brook  was  crossed, 
after  which  the  road  was  clear  to  the  mission,  where  a  number  of  dwellings 
clustered  round  the  low  adobe  church,  venerable  in  its  dilapidation  Valencia, 
Noe,  Guerrero,  Haro,  Bernal,  whose  names  are  preserved  in  streets  and  hills 
around,  and  C.  Brown,  Denniston,  Nuttman,  and  Jack  Powers,  were  among  the 
residents.  The  centre  of  attraction  was  the  Mansion  house  where  Bob  Rid 
ley  and  C.  V.  Stuart  dispensed  milk  punches  to  crowds  of  cavaliers,  to  whom 
the  frequent  Mexican  attire  gave  a  picturesque  coloring. 


to  the  Marine  Hospital  on  Filbert  street,  and  another 
to  the  North  Beach  anchorage,  where  speculators 
were  planning  a  wharf  for  attracting  settlement  in 
this  direction. 

The  accommodations  offered  to  arrivals  in  1849  were 
most  precarious  in  character.  Any  shed  was  con 
sidered  fit  for  a  lodging-house,  by  placing  a  line  of 
bunks  along  the  sides,  and  leaving  the  occupant  fre 
quently  to  provide  his  own  bed-clothes.21  Such  crude 
arrangements  prevailed  to  some  extent  also  at  the 
hotels,  of  which'  there  were  several.  The  first  enti 
tled  to  the  name  was  the  City  Hotel,  a  story-and-a-half 
adobe  building,  erected  in  1846  on  the  plaza,22  followed 
in  1848  by  the  noted  Parker  House,23  the  phoenix  of 
many  fires,  and  in  1849  by  a  large  number  of  others,24 

21  Such  a  shed,  with   '  crates '  along  the  walls,  adjoined  the  City  hotel. 
Crosty's  Events,   MS.,   13.     Bartlett,  Stat.,  MS.,   9,   mentions  three  tiers  of 
bunks  in  one  room.     Many  were  glad  to  remain  on  board  the  vessel  which 
brought  them. 

22  On  s.  w.  corner  of  Clay  and  Kearny  sts.     The  half-story  consisted  of 
gable  garrets  beneath  the  tile  roof.     It  had  a  railed  porch,  and  square,  deep- 
silled  windows.     Parker  had  reopened  it  in  July  1848.  Larlciris  Doc.,  vi.  144. 
Bayard   Taylor  obtained  a   garret  there  in    1849.    Eldorado,   55.     See  also 
Merrill's  Stat.,  MS.,  3.     The  lease  of  $16,000  a  year  granted  in  1848  left  a 
large  profit  by  subdivisions  and  subrenting.  A  Ua  Cal.,  Sept.  21,  1851,  and 
other  current  journals. 

23  On  the  east  side  of  the  plaza,  near  Washington  st,  where  the  old  city 
hall  now  stands.     It  was  a  two-story-and-a-half  frame  building  with  a  front 
age  of  60  feet,  begun  in  the  autumn  of  1848,  and  still  in  the  builder's  hands  in 
April  1849,  when   lumber  cost  $600  per  1,000   feet.  Little's  Stat.,   MS.,   3; 
Grimshaw's  Nar.,  MS.,  14.     It  rented  for  $9,000,  and  subsequently  for  $15,000 
per  month,  half  of  the  sum  paid  by  gamblers  who  occupied  the  second  floor. 
Subleases  brought  $50,000  profit.     Four  days  after  its  sale,  on  Dec.  20,  1849, 
it  was  burned.     By  May  4,  1850,  it  had  beeii  rebuilt  at  a  cost  of  $40,000,  only 
to*  be  destroyed  the  day  of  its  completion.     The  lower  floor  was  again  in 
operation  by  May  27th.     The  rebuilding,  including  the  Jenny  Lind  theatre, 
cost  $100,000.     It  was  once  more  reduced  to  ashes  on  the  fire  anniversary  in 
the  following  year.     Within  a  week  lumber  was  on  the  ground  for  rebuild 
ing.  Alta  Cal.,  May  13,  1851;  Henshaws  Stat.,  MS.,  1-2;  Buffums  Six  Months, 
121-2;    Woods'  Sixteen  Mo.,  46.     The  cost  of  the  first  building  was  placed  at 
$30,000.  Alta  Cal.,  May  27,  1850. 

24  Broadway  and  Fremont  hotels  near  Clark  Point  landing;  St  Francis, 
s.w.  corner  Clay   and   Dupont,  a  four-story  building  formed   from  several 
cottages;  no  gambling;  managed  in  1850  by  Parker;  ravaged  by  a  solitary 
fire  on  Oct.  22,  1850;  Ohio  house  on  Jackson  between  Kearny  and  Dupont; 
German  house  on  Dupont  near  Washington;  Muller's,  in  Townsend  avenue, 
on  Washington;  American  hotel,  with  daily  business  of  $300;  U.  S.  hotel  of 
Mrs  King,  claiming  to  accommodate  200  lodgers;  Howard  hotel;  Merchants' 
hotel   of    Dearborn   and   Sherman;    Colonnade   house   of   Win    Conway    on 
Kearny;   Ward   house   on   the   Clay-st   side   of    the   plaza;  Brown's   hotel; 
Portsmouth   house   of   E.  P.    Jones;   G.  Denecke's   house  oa   the   corner  of 


many  of  which  were  lodging-houses,  with  restaurants 
attached.  The  latter  presented  a  variety  even  greater 
than  the  other  in  methods  and  nationalities  of  owners, 
cooks,  and  waiters,  or  rather  stewards,  for  where  the 
servant  was  as  good  as  the  master  the  former  term 
was  deemed  disrespectful.  From  the  cheap  and  neat 
Chinese  houses,  marked  by  triangular  yellow  flags, 
wherein  a  substantial  meal  could  be  had  for  a  dollar, 
the  choice  extended  to  the  epicurean  Delrnonico, 
where  five  times  the  amount  would  obtain  only  a 
meagre  dinner.  Intermediate  ranged  several  German, 
French,  and  Italian  establishments,  with  their  differ 
ent  specialties  by  the  side  of  plain  Yankee  kitchens, 
English  lunch-houses,  and  the  representative  fonda 
of  the  Hispano  element,  many  in  tents  and  some  in 
omnibuses,  which  proving  unavailable  for  traffic  were 
converted  to  other  uses.25  Little  mattered  the  na- 

Pacific  and  Sansome;  Sutter  hotel  and  restaurant  by  Ambrose  and  Ken 
dall;  Barnum  house  of  Mitchell,  Carmon,  and  Spooner,  opened  on  Sept.  15, 
1850,  on  Commercial  between  Montgomery  and  Keariiy;  Ontario  house; 
Stockton  hotel  of  Starr  and  Brown,  on  Long  Wharf;  Healey  house,  opened 
in  Dec.  1849,  claimed  to  be  then  the  most  substantial  house  in  the  city; 
Graham  house,  imported  bodily  from  Baltimore;  Congress  hall  used  for  ac 
commodation.  The  first  really  substantial  hotel  was  the  Union,  of  brick, 
four  and  a  half  stories,  opened  in  the  autumn  of  1850  by  Selover  &  Co.,  a  firm 
composed  of  Alderman  Selover,  Middleton,  and  E.  V.  Joice.  It  was  built 
by  J.  W.  Priestly,  after  the  plan  of  H.  N.  White,  the  brick-work  embracing 
500,000  bricks,  contracted  for  completion  within  26  days.  The  chandeliers, 
gilt  frames,  etc.,  fitted  by  J.  B.  M.  Crooks  and  J.  S.  Caldwell.  It  extended 
between  Clay  and  Washington  for  160  feet,  with  a  frontage  of  29  feet  on  the 
east  side  of  Kearny.  It  contained  100  rooms.  The  cost,  including  furni 
ture,  was  §250,000.  Burned  in  May  1851,  and  subsequently  it  became  a  less 
fashionable  resort.  The  construction  of  the  more  successful  Oriental  was 
begun  in  Nov.  1850,  at  the  corner  of  Bush  and  Battery.  Jones',  at  the  cor 
ner  of  Sansome  and  California,  first  opened  as  a  hotel  by  Capt.  Folsom,  but 
unsuccessfully,  was  soon  converted  into  the  Tehama  house,  much  frequented 
by  military  men.  For  these  and  other  hotels,  I  refer  to  Alta  Gal,  May  27, 
1850;  Oct.  23,  1853;  Mar.  8,  1867;  Pac.  News,  Nov.  6,  8,  Dec.  6,  22,  25,  27, 
1849;  Jan.  1,  3,  5,  Apr.  26,  27,  Oct.  22,  Nov.  9,  1850;  Cal  Courier,  Sept.  12, 
14,  1850;  8.  F.  Picayune,  Aug.  17,  30,  Sept.  12,  16,  1850;  S.  F.  Annals,  647 
et  seq.;  Bauer  s  Stat.,  MS.,  2;  Kimbatts  Dir.y  1850. 

25  The  Bay  hotel  (Pet.  Guevil)  and  the  Illinois  house  (S.  Anderson),  on 
Battery  st;  the  Bruner  house,  Lovejoy's  hotel  (J.  H.  Brown),  Lafayette  hotel 
(L.  Guiraud)  and  the  Albion  house  (Croxton  &  Ward),  on  Broadway  st;  on 
Pacific  st  were  the  Marine  hotel  (C.  C.  Stiles),  Hotel  du  Commerce  (C.  Ren 
ault),  Crescent  house  (Sam.  Harding),  Planters'  hotel  (J.  Stigall),  Mclntire 
house  and  the  Waverly  house  (B.  F.  Bucknell);  on  Jackson  st  were  the  Com 
mercial  hotel  (J.  Ford  &  Co.),  Dalton  house  (Smith  &  Hasty),  E.  Pascual's 
Fonda  Mejicana,  the  Philadelphia  house  and  J.  Cotter  &  Co.'s  California 
house.  On  Commercial  st  T.  M.  Rollins  kept  the  Keunebec  house,  and  P.  S. 


ture  of  the  accommodation  to  miners  fresh  from  rough 
camps,  or  to  immigrants  long  imprisoned  within  foul 
hulks,  most  of  them  half-starved  on  poorer  provis 
ions.  To  them  almost  any  restaurant  or  shelter 
seemed  for  a  while  at  least  a  haven  of  comfort.  Nor 
were  all  well  provided  with  funds,  and  like  the  prudent 
ones  who  had  come  with  the  determination  to  toil  and 
save,  they  preferred  to  leave  such  luxuries  as  eggs 
at  seventy-five  cents  to  a  dollar  each,  quail  and  duck 
at  from  two  to  five  dollars,  salads  one  and  a  half  to 
two  dollars,  and  be  content  with  the  small  slice  of 
plain  boiled  beef,  indifferent  bread,  and  worse  coffee 
served  at  the  dollar  places,26  and  with  one  of  the 

Gordon  the  house  bearing  the  name  of  the  street.  On  Montgomery  st  stood 
the  Star  house  (C.  Webster),  Irving  house,  Eureka  hotel  ( J.  H.  Davis  &  Co. ), 
Montgomery  house,  Cape  Cod  house  (Crocker,  Evans,  &  Taylor).  Sansome 
st  contained  the  Merrimac  house  (Williams  &  Johnson),  New  England  house 
(W.  B.  Wilton),  and  the  New  Bedford  house  (Jno.  Britnell),  three  names 
likely  to  attract  the  attention  of  newly  arrived  wanderers  from  the  far  East. 
On  Kearny  st  were  the  Adams  (Jno.  Adams),  mansion  (Mrs  E.  Gordon), 
Mariposa  (B.  Vallafon),  Crescent  City  (Winley  &  Lear),  and  San  Jose  houses, 
and  the  Graham  hotel,  which  latter  became  the  city  hall  in  1851.  On  Dupont 
st  I  find  the  Globe  hotel  (Mrs  B.  V.  Koch),  and  the  Albion  (B.  Keesing) 
Harm's  (H.)  and  Excellent  houses.  On  Clay  st  H.  Bush  kept  the  house 
which  took  his  name.  On  Sacramento  st  was  Bailey  &  Smith's  Byron  house, 
and  California  st  contained  the  Murray  ( Jas  Hair),  Duxbury  (A.  Marshall), 
and  Elephant  (A.  G.  Oakes)  houses.  Richelieu  hotel  was  on  Pine  st,  and 
over  in  the  Happy  and  Pleasant  Valley  region  the  Isthmus  hotel  proffered 
hospitality.  At  or  near  the  mission  were  wayside  resorts,  such  as  the  Grizzly, 
near  Potter  st,  and  the  Mansion  house  of  Bob.  Ridley  and  C.  V.  Stuart.  On 
Sacramento  st  were  Raphael's  restaurant  and  that  of  Marye.  On  Kearny 
st  bet.  Clay  and  Sacramento  were  Mme  Rosalie's  restaurant,  and  Swan  and 
Thompson's  New  York  bakery.  Wm  Meyer  kept  a  coffee-house  on  Jackson 
st  at  the  water-front,  and  Nash,  Patten,  and  Thayer's  Kremlin  restaurant  and 
saloon  stood  on  Commercial  st.  Besides  four  Chinese  restaurants,  on  Pacific, 
Jackson,  and  Washington  st  near  the  water-front,  charging  $1  for  a  dinner, 
Cassins  Slat.,  MS.,  14,  there  were  American  restaurants  at  the  same  price,  as 
Smyth  Clark's.  Barlett's  Stat. ,  MS.,  8.  One  on  Broadway  was  in  full  blast 
while  its  ruins  were  still  smoking  after  the  first  great  fire.  Garniss'  Early 
Days,  MS.,  19.  There  were  the  U.  S.  and  California  houses  on  the  plaza, 
besides  a  French  restaurant,  whose  counterpart  existed  also  on  Dupont  st,  not 
far  from  a  large  German  establishment  on  Pacific  st.  Then  there  were  the 
classical  Gothic  hall  and  Alhambra,  Tortini's  of  Italian  savor,  the  Empire, 
Elleard's  on  Clay  st,  by  Tom  Harper,  Clayton's  near  by,  and  a  number  of 
others,  some  advertised  in  Alia  Cal.,  May  27,  1850,  etc.,  and  Pac.  News.  Wood 
ward  of  the  later  noted  What  Cheer  house  kept  a  coffee  shop  near  the  post- 
office  on  Pike  toward  Sacramento  st.  S.  F.  Bull.,  Jan.  23,  1867.  Many  of  the 
hotels  mentioned  above  combined  restaurants  and  lunching-places  in  con 
nection  with  drinking-saloons  and  other  establishments. 

26 This  was  the  meal  at  City  hotel,  says  Crosby,  Events,  MS.,  14.  Some 
times  sea-biscuits  and  dumplings  would  be  added.  Some  of  the  boarders 
kept  a  private  bottle  of  pickles,  or  bought  a  potato  for  25  cents.  The  bill  of 
fare  at  Ward's  or  Delmonico's  read:  Oxtail  or  St  Julien  soup,  75c.  to  $1; 


dozen  or  fifty  bunks  in  a  lodging-room  at  from  six  to 
twenty  dollars  a  week;  for  a  room  even  at  the  ordinary 
hotel  cost  from  $25  to  $100  a  week,  while  at  Ward's 
it  rose  to  $250.27  Offices  and  stores  were  leased  for 
sums  ranging  as  high  as  six  thousand  dollars  a  month, 
and  a  building  like  the  Parker  House,  on  the  plaza, 
brought  in  subrenting  large  profits  upon  the  $15,000 
monthly  lease. 

It  was  the  period  of  fancy  prices,  and  houses  and 
lots  shared  in  the  rule.  When  the  gold-seekers  who 
rushed  away  from  San  Francisco  in  1848  returned  in 
the  autumn  and  found  that  their  abandoned  lots  had, 
under  the  reviving  faith  in  the  city,  earned  for  many 
of  them  more  than  they  obtained  from  the  Sierra  with 
its  boasted  treasures,  'then  speculation  took  a  fresh 
start.  When,  with  the  ensuing  year,  immigrants 
poured  in;  when  ships  crowded  the  harbor;  when 
tents  and  sheds  multiplied  by  the  thousand,  and  houses 

salmon  or  fish  in  small  variety,  $1.50;  entrees,  of  stews,  sausage,  meats,  etc., 
$1  to  $1.50;  roast  meats  ranged  from  beef,  the  cheapest,  at  $1,  to  veui- 
sion  at  $1.50;  vegetables,  limited  in  range  and  supply,  were  50c. ;  pies,  pud 
dings,  and  fruit,  75c.;  omelettes,  $2.  The  wine  list  was  less  exorbitant, 
owing  to  large  importations,  for  although  ale,  porter,  and  cider  were 
quoted  at  $2,  claret,  sherry,  and  Madeira  stood  at  $2,  $3,  and  $4  respect 
ively,  while  champagne  and  old  port  could  be  had  in  pint  bottles  at  $2.50 
and  $1.75;  whiskey  and  brandy  were  very  low,  likewise  raisins,  cigars, 
etc.  For  prices,  see  Sc/tenck's  Vi</.,  MS.,  20;  Pac.  News,  Dec.  4,  1849;  Jan. 
12,  1850;  Taylor's  Eldorado,  i.  116;  S.  J.  Pioneer,  Aug.  1G,  1879;  Taylors 
Spec.  Press,  500-3.  Toward  winter  the  price  for  board  rose  from  $20  to  $35 
a  week.  A  moderate  charge  for  board  and  lodging  was  $150  a  month.  Food 
was  abundant  and  cheap  enough  at  the  sources  of  supply;  the  cost  lay  princi 
pally  in  getting  it  to  market.  The  great  ranchos  supplied  unlimited  quanti 
ties  of  good  beef;  bays,  rivers,  and  woods  were  alive  with  game;  the  finest 
of  fish,  wild  fowl,  bear-meat,  elk,  antelope,  and  venison  could  be  had  for  the 
taking;  but  vegetables,  fruit,  and  flour  were  then  not  so  plentiful,  and  had  to 
be  brought  from  a  greater  distance. 

27  Schenck,  Vig.,  MS.,  20,  paid  $21  a  week  for  a  bunk  on  the  enclosed  porch 
of  an  adobe  house  on  Dupont  st.  For  room  rents,  see  Gamins'  Slut.,  MS.,  11; 
Olney's  V'uj,,  MS.,  3;  Slier  mans  Mem.,  i.  67;  Larkins  Doc.,  vi.  41,  etc.  The 
ground-rent  for  a  house  ranged  from  $100  to  $500  a  month.  Buff  urns  Six 
Months,  121.  A  cellar  12  ft  square  could  be  had  for  a  law-office  at  $250  a 
month.  For  an  office  on  Washington  above  Montgomery  st  $1,000  was  asked. 
Browns  Slat.,  MS.,  11.  For  desk-room  of  five  feet  at  the  end  of  a  counter, 
$100  a  month.  Buttons  Stat.,  MS.,  3.  For  their  Miners'  Bank  on  the  N.  w. 
corner  Kearny  and  Washington  sts,  Wright  £  Co.  paid  $6,000  monthly.  A 
stor.  20  feet  in  front  rented  for  $3,500  a  month.  Yet  the  U.  S.  hotel  rental 
was  said  to  be  only  $3,000.  In  the  tent  structure  adjoining,  the  Eldorado,  sin 
gle  rooms  for  gambling  brought  $180  a  day;  mere  tables  in  hotels  for  gam 
bling  $30  a  day. 


shot  up  like  mushrooms — speculation  became  wild. 
Lots,  which  a  year  before  could  not  be  sold  at  any 
price,  because  the  town  had  been  left  without  either 
sellers  or  buyers,  now  found  ready  purchasers  at  from 
ten  to  a  thousand  times  their  cost.28 

More  than  one  instance  is  recorded  of  property  sell 
ing  at  $40,000  or  more,  which  two  years  before  cost 
fifteen  or  sixteen  dollars,  and  of  the  sudden  enrichment 
of  individual  owners  and  speculators.  Well  known  is 
the  story  of  Hicks,  the  old  sailor.  The  gold  excite 
ment  recalled  to  his  memory  the  unwilling  purchase  in 
Yerba  Buena  of  a  lot,  which  on  coming  back  in  1849 
he  found  worth  a  fortune.  His  son  sold  half  of  it 
some  years  later  for  nearly  a  quarter  of  a  million.29 
Vice-consul  Leidesdorif  died  in  1848,  leaving  property 
then  regarded  as  inadequate  to  pay  his  liabilities 
of  over  $40,000.  A  year  later  its  value  had  so  ad 
vanced  so  as  to  give  to  the  heirs  an  amount  larger 
than  the  debt,  while  agents  managed  to  make  fortunes 
by  administering  on  the  estate.30 

28  For  prices  in  1846-8,  see  my  preceding  volume,  v.,  and  note  4  of  this 
chapter.     With  preparation  for  departure  to  the  mines,  in  the  spring  of  1849, 
a  lull  set  in,  Larkins  Doc.,  vii.  92;  Hartley's  Observ.,  MS.,  5;  but  immediately 
after  Began  the  great  influx  of  ships,  and  prices  advanced  once  more,  till 
toward  the  end  of  the  year,  when  gold-laden  diggers  came  back,  they  reached 
unprecedented  figures.     A  lot  on  the  plaza,  which  in  1847  had  cost  $16.50, 
sold  in  beginning  of  1849  for  $6,000,  and  at  the  end  of  the  year  for  $45,000. 
Henskaw's  Events,  MS.,  7.     Buffum,  Six  Mo.,  121-2,  instances  this  or  a  similar 
sale  as  ranging  from  $15  to  $40,000.     Johnson,  Gal.  and  Or.,  101,  gives  the 
oft-told  story  of  a  lot  selling  for  $18,000,  which  two  years  before  was  bar 
tered  for  a  barrel  of  whiskey.     A  central  lot  which  B.  Semple  is  said  to  have 
given  away  to  show  his  confidence  in  Benicia's  prospects,  now  commanded  a 
little  fortune,     Williams,  Rec.,  MS.,  6-7,  quotes  central  lots  long  before  the 
close  of  1849  at  from  $10,000  to  $15,000,  those  on  the  plaza  at  $15,000  and 
$20,000;  yet  the  most  substantial  business  was  done  east  of  Kearny  st,  ob 
serves  Currey,  Stilt.,  MS.,  8.     A  50-vara  lot  on  the  corner  of  Montgomery 
and  Market  sts  sold  for  $500.   Findlas  Stat.,  MS.,  8.     The  government  paid 
$1,000  a  foot  for  120  feet  on  the  plaza.  8.  F.  Herald,  June  25,  1850.     At  the 
end  of  this  year  the  demand  fell  off.  Larkins  Doc.,  vii.  231,  yet  the  rise  con 
tinued  till  the  climax  for  the  time  was  reached  in  1853,  says  Williams,  the 
Ixiilder.    Ul>i  sup.     At  the  close  of  this  year  the  authorities  sold  water  lots  of 
only  25  feet  by  59,  part  under  water,  at  from  $8,000  to  $16,000,  four  small 
blocks  alone  producing  $1,200,000,  and  tending  to  restore  the  impaired  credit 
of  the  city.  Annals  S.  F.,  182.     In  Cal.  Digger's  Hand-book,   36,   are  some 
curious  figures  for  lots  from  the  presidio  to  San  Pablo.     For  reliable  points, 
see  Alta  Cal,  Dec.   15,   1849,  etc.;  and  Pac.   News;  also  Rednitz,  Reise,  106; 
Lambertie,   Voy.,  203-9. 

29  Details  in  8.  F  Real  Estate  Circular,  Sac.  Bee,  June  12,   1874;  Hayes' 
Scraps,  Cal  Notes,  v.  16,  etc. 

3s  The  state  laid  claim  to  it,  but  yielded  after  long  litigation.     Leidesdorff 


The  demand  was  confined  chiefly  to  Kearny  street 
round  the  plaza,  and  eastward  to  the  cove,  including 
water  lots.  Outside  land  shared  only  moderately  in 
the  rise,  fifty-vara  lots,  the  usual  size,  near  the  corner 
of  Montgomery  and  Market  streets,  selling  for  $500. 
Property  toward  North  Beach  was  regarded  with 
greater  favor.81  Periodic  auction  sales  gave  a  stimu 
lus  to  operations,82  and  lotteries  were  added  to  sustain 
it,  chiefly  by  men  who  had  managed  to  secure  large 
blocks  on  speculation.33  Dealings  were  not  without 
risk,  for  several  clouds  overhung  the  titles,  water  lots 
being  involved  in  the  tide-land  question,  soon  satisfac 
torily  settled  by  act  of  legislature,  and  nearly  all  the 
rest  in  the  claim  to  pueblo  lands,  which  led  to  long 
and  harassing  litigation,  with  contradictory  judg 
ments,  disputed  surveys,  and  congressional  debates; 

was  buried  at  Mission  Dolores  with  imposing  ceremonies  befitting  his  promi 
nence  and  social  virtues.  Warm  of  heart,  clear  of  head,  social,  hospitable,, 
liberal  to  a  fault,  his  hand  ever  open  to  the  poor  and  unfortunate,  active  and 
enterprising  in  business,  and  with  a  character  of  high  integrity,  his  name 
stands  as  among  the  purest  and  best  of  that  sparkling  little  community  to 
which  his  death  proved  a  serious  loss.  It  is  necessary  for  the  living  to  take 
charge  of  the  effects  of  the  dead,  but  it  smells  strongly  of  the  cormorant,  the 
avidity  with  which  men  seek  to  administer  an  estate  for  the  profit  to  be  de 
rived  from  it.  We  have  many  notable  examples  of  this  kind  in  the  history 
of  California,  in  which  men  of  prominence  have  participated,  sometimes  in  the 
name  of  friendship,  but  usually  actuated  thereto  by  avarice.  The  body  of 
William  A.  Leidesdorff  was  scarcely  cold  before  Joseph  L.  Folsom  obtained 
from  Gov.  Mason  an  order  to  take  charge  of  the  estate  in  connection  with 
Charles  Myres.  The  indecent  haste  of  Folsom  was  checked  by  the  appoint 
ment  as  administrator  of  W.  D.  M.  Howard  by  John  Townsend,  1st  alcalde 
of  San  Francisco.  And  when  Folsom  died  there  were  others  just  as  eager  as 
he  had  been  to  finger  dead  men's  wealth. 

31  Beyond  Montgomery  and  Market,  100-vara  lots  were  offered  for  $500, 
and  with  some  purchasers  the  scrub  oak  firewood  on  them  was  the  main  in 

32  See  advertisements  in  Alta  CaL,  Dec.  15,   1849,  and  other  dates;  and 
Pac.  News,  Jan.  5,  1850,  etc.     Large  weekly  sales  took  place.     The  last  of 
600  lots  yielded  $225,000,  says  S.  F.  Herald,  Aug.  10,  1850;  S.  F.  Picayune, 
Dec.  4,  1850;  Olney's  Viij.,  MS.,  2.     Among  the  auctioneers  whose  sale  cata 
logues  are  before  me  figure  Gr.  E.  Tyler  in  1849,  and  Cannon  &  Co.  and  Ken?- 
dig,  Wain wright,  &  Co.  in  1850.     In  the  1849  catalogues  50-vara  lots  pre 
vail  as  far  S.  w.  as  Turk  and  Taylor  sts,  and  100-vara  sizes  south  of  Market 
st,  while  in  1850  lots  of  20  feet  frontage  are  the  most  common  even  in  the 
latter  region.     For  raffling  of  lots,  see  CaL  Courier,  Oct.  5,  1850;  Pac.  News, 
Oct.  19,  1850. 

33A  large  portion  of  the  city  land  was  held  by  a  few  and  squatters  would 
scuttle  old  hulks  upon  desirable  water  lots  to  secure  possession,  as.  did  alcalde 
Leavenworth.  Merrill's  Stat.,  MS.,  2-4. 
HIST.  CAL.,  VOL.  VI.    13 


in  addition  to  which  rose  several  spectres  in  the  form 
of  private  land  grants.34 

By  the  middle  of  1849  the  greater  part  of  the  lots 
laid  out  by  O'Farrell35  had  been  disposed  of,  and  W. 
M.  Eddy  was  accordingly  instructed  to  extend  the 
survey  to  Larkin  and  Eighth  streets,30  within  which 
limits  sales  were  continued.  Encouraged  by  the  de 
mand,  John  Townsend  and  C.  de  Boom  hastened  to 
lay  out  a  suburban  town  on  the  Potrero  Nuevo  penin 
sula,  two  miles  south,  beyond  Mission  Bay,  which 
with  its  sloping  ground,  good  water,  arid  secure  anchor 
age  held  forth  many  attractions  to  purchasers;  but 
the  distance  and  difficulty  of  access  long  proved  a  bar 
to  settlement.37 

The  eagerness  to  invest  in  lots  was  for  some  time 
not  founded  on  any  wide-spread  confidence  in  the  coun 
try  and  the  future  of  the  city.  Few  then  thought  of 
making  California  their  home,  or,  indeed,  of  remaining 
longer  than  to  gather  gold  enough  for  a  stake  in 
life.  Viewed  by  the  average  eye,  the  abnormities  of 
1849  displayed  no  meaning.  Absorbed  in  the  one 
great  pursuit,  which  confined  them  to  comparatively 
arid  gold  belts  and  to  marshy  or  sand-blown  town 
sites,  they  missed  the  real  beauties  of  the  country, 
failed  to  observe  its  best  resources,  and  became  im 
pressed  rather  by  the  worst  features  connected  with 
their  roamings  and  hardships.  The  climate  was  bear 
able,  summer's  consuming  heat  being  chased  away 
by  winter's  devouring  waters.  The  soil  would  not 
furnish  food  for  the  people,  it  was  said.  The  mines 

34  By  Larkin,  Santillan,  Sherrebeck,  Limantour,  and  others,  which,  how 
ever,  did  not  appear  at  this  early  date,  when  the  tide-water  question  excited 
the  only  real  fear.  Land  titles  are  fully  considered  in  a  special  chapter.  By 
order  of  the  governor,  Feb.  19,  1850,  the  sale  of  municipal  lands  was  fordii- 
deiitill  the  legislature  should  decide.  S.  F.,  Minutes  Leyisl.  Assembly,  14,  229. 

*°  See  preceding  vol.  v. 

36 See  A.  Wheelers  Report  of  1850,  and  his  Land  Titles  in  S.  F.  of  1852, 
for  observations  on  survey  and  lists  of  sales  and  grants  made  up  to  1850;  also 
Pac.  New*,  Nov.  27,  1849;  A  Ita,  etc. 

37  It  was  surveyed  by  A.  R.  Flint.  Hunter  Bros  were  the  agents  in  S.  F. 
Or.  Sketches,  MS.,  2;  Buffums  Six  Months,  156. 


would  not  yield  treasures  forever;  then  what  should 
pay  for  the  clothing  and  provisions  shipped  hither 
from  distant  ports,  which  had  to  furnish  almost  every 
thing  needful  for  sustaining  life,  even  bread?  Surely 
not  the  hides,  horns,  and  tallow  secured  from  the 
rapidly  disappearing  herds. 

There  was,  consequently,  little  inducement  to  pre 
pare  anything  but  the  flimsiest  accommodation  for 
the  inflowing  population  and  increasing  trade,  Then 
there  was  an  excitement  and  hurry  everywhere  preva 
lent,  and  the  cost  of  material  and  labor  was  excessive. 
Every  day  saw  a  marked  change  in  the  city's  expansion; 
and  as  winter  approached  and  rain  set  in,  the  central 
part  underwent  a  rapid  transformation,  under  the  effort 
to  replace  canvas  frames  with  somewhat  firmer  wooden 
walls.  It  is  assumed  that  at  least  a  thousand  sheds 
and  houses  were  erected  in  the  latter  half  of  1849,3* 
at  a  cost  that  would  have  provided  accommodation 
for  a  fivefold  larger  community  on  the  Atlantic  coast. 

Stretching  its  youthful  limbs  in  the  gusty  air,  San 
Francisco  grew  apace,  covering  the  drift  sand  which 
was  soon  to  be  tied  down  by  civilization,  carving  the 
slopes  into  home  sites  for  climbing  habitations  till  they 
reached  the  crests,  levelling  the  hills  by  blasting  out 
ballast  for  returning  vessels,  or  material  for  filling  in 
behind  the  rapidly  advancing  piling  in  the  cove. 

The  topography  of  the  city,  with  sharply  rising 

38  Buff urn's  Six  Months,  121.  Taylor  estimates  the  habitations  in  Aug., 
including  tents,  at  500,  with  a  population  of  6,000,  and  that  the  town  increases 
daily  by  from  fifteen  to  thirty  houses;  its  skirts  rapidly  approaching  the  sum 
mits  of  the  hills.  Eldorado,  i.  59,  203.  His  '  houses '  must  be  understood  as 
embracing  at  least  canvas  structures.  The  streets  were  encroaching  on 
Happy  Valley,  and  the  harbor  was  lined  with  boats,  tents,  and  warehouses 
to  Rincon  Point.  As  many  as  40  buildings  have  risen  within  48  hours, 
*  Framed  houses  were  often  put  up  and  enclosed  in  24  hours.'  McCotturis  Cal., 
60.  Muslin  was  used  instead  of  plaster.  Adven.  of  Capt.  Wife,  27-8.  A 
most  valuable  account  of  the  building  of  the  city  in  1849  and  subsequent 
years  is  given  in  the  Statement,  MS.,  4  et  seq.,  of  H.  F.  Williams,  who  opened 
a  carpenter-shop  in  1849  on  the  east  side  of  Montgomery  st,  between  Jackson 
and  Washington,  and  figured  long  as  builder  and  contractor.  He  paid  $12  a 
day  in  Nov.  to  any  one  who  could  handle  a  saw  and  hammer.  Buildings  now 
costing  $2,500  were  then  contracted  for  at  $21,000.  Details  are  also  given  in 
Buttons  Early  Exper.,  MS.;  Bauer's  Stat.,  MS.,  5;  Larkiris  Doc.,  vi.  51,  etc.; 
Sandoich  Is.  News,  ii.  193,  etc.;  8.  F.  Picayune,  Sept.  11,  1850;  Cal  Courier, 
5-ec  U,  1850;  S.  F.  Herald,  June  20,  1850,  etc. 


hills  so  close  upon  the  established  centre  of  popula 
tion,  interposed  a  barrier  against  business  structures, 
while  the  shallow  waters  of  the  bay  invited  to  the 
projection  of  wharves,  which  again  led  to  the  erection 
of  buildings  alongside  and  between  them.  In  levelling 
for  interior  streets  the  bay  offered  the  best  dumping- 
place,  and  the  test  once  satisfactorily  made,  sand 
ridges  scores  of  feet  in  height  came  tumbling  down 
into  the  cove  under  the  combined  onslaught  of  steam - 
excavators,  railroads,  and  pile-drivers.  In  1849  Mont 
gomery  street  skirted  the  water;  a  little  more  than  a 
year  later  it  ran  through  the  heart  of  the  town.8D 

The  only  real  encroachment  upon  the  water  domain 
in  1848  was  in  the  construction  of  two  short  wharves, 
at  Clay  and  Broadway  streets.40  In  May  1849 
Alcalde  Leavenworth  projected  Central  or  Long 
Wharf,  along  Commercial  street,  which  before  the 
end  of  the  year  extended  800  feet,  and  became  noted 
as  the  noisy  resort  of  pedlers  and  Cheap  John  shops. 
Steamers  and  sea-going  vessels  began  to  unload  at  it, 
and  buildings  sprang  up  rapidly  along  the  new  avenue. 
Its  successful  progress  started  a  number  of  rival  enter 
prises  upon  every  street  along  the  front,  from  Market 
and  California  streets  tq  Broadway  and  beyond.41 

39  'Within  another  year  one  half  of  the  city  will  stand  on  soil  wrested  from 
the  sea,'  exclaim  the  S.  F.  Courier  and  Sac.  Transcript,  Oct.  14,  1850.     Thus 
were  overcome  difficulties  not  unlike  those  encountered  in  placing  St  Peters 
burg  upon  her  delta,  Amsterdam  upon  her  marshes,  and  Venice  upon  her 
island  cluster.     During  the  winter  1850-1  over  1,000  people  dwelt  upon  the 
water  in  buildings  resting  on  piles,  and  in  hulks  of  vessels. 

40  This  wet-nursing  began  in 1847  by  city  appropriation,  assisted  by  W.  S. 
Clark.     See  my  preceding  vol.,  v.   655-6,  679.     Many  pioneers  think  that 
because  a  favorite  landing-place  was  upon  some  rocks,  at  Pacific  and  Sansoma 
sts,  there  were  no  wharves.     The  lagoon  at  Jackson  st,  which  had  been  partly 
filled,  offered  an  inlet  for  boats.     There  were  also  other  landings.  Crosby's 
Stat.,  MS.,  12;  Schenetts  Vig.,  MS.,  14;  Miscel  Stats.^lS.,  21;  and  note  5  of 
this  chapter. 

41  Central  wharf,  owned  by  a  joint-stock  company,  of  which  the  most 
prominent  members  were  Mellus  &  Howard,  Cross,   Hobson,  &  Co.,  Jas  C. 
Ward,  J.  L.  Folsom,  De  Witt&  Harrison,  SamBrannan,  Theo.  Shillaber,  etc., 
began  at  Leidesdorff  st,  and  was  originally  800  ft  long.     Being  seriously  dam 
aged  by  the  fire  of  June  1850,  it  was  repaired,  and  by  Oct.  extended  to  a 
length  of  2,000  ft,  affording  depth  of  water  sufficient  to  allow  the  Pacific  Mail 
steamers  to  lie  alongside.     The  cost  was  over  $180,000.     Details  in  Sckenck's 
Vij.,  MS.,  14;  Fays  Facts,  MS.,  2;  S.  F.  Bull.,  Jan.  23,  1867.     C.  V.  Gilles- 

?ie  wasprest.  Alta,  Dec.  12,  1849.     Before  the  beginning  of  the  winter  of 
850-1,  Market-st  wh.  corporation  property,  already  looming  as  a  wholesale 


They  added  nearly  two  miles  to  the  roadway  of  the 
city,  at  an  outlay  of  more  than  a  million  dollars,  which, 
however,  yielded  a  large  return  to  the  projectors, 
mostly  private  firms.  A  few  belonged  to  the  munici 
pality,  which  soon  absorbed  the  rest,,  as  the  progress 
of  filling  in  and  building  up  alongside  and  between 
converted  them  into  public  streets,  and  caused  the  for 
mation  of  a  new  network  of  wharves. 

In  the  rush  of  speculation  and  extension,  in  which 
the  energy  and  success  of  a  few  led  the  rest,  the 
several  sections  of  the  city  were  left  comparatively 
neglected,  partly  because  so  many  thought  it  useless 
to  waste  improvements  during  a  probably  brief  stay. 
Streets,  for  instance,  remained  unpaved,  without  side 
walks  and  even  ungraded.  The  pueblo  government 
had  before  the  gold  excitement  done  a  little  work 
upon  portions  of  a  few  central  thoroughfares,  yet 
Montgomery  street  was  still  in  a  crude  condition  and 
higher  on  one  side  than  on  the  other.42  During  the 
dry  summer  this  mattered  little,  for  dust  and  sand 
would  in  any  case  come  whirling  in  clouds  from  the 
surrounding  hills,  but  in  winter  the  aspect  changed. 
The  season  1849-50  proved  unusually  watery.43  Build- 
centre,  Cal.  Courier,  Aug.  7,  1850,  extended  600  ft  into  the  cove;  Calif ornia- 
st  wh.,  substantially  built,  was  400  ft  long  by  32  ft  wide;  Howison's  pier, 
connected  by  a  railway  with  Sacramento  st,  was  1,100  ft  long,  with  a  width 
of  40  ft,  and  a  depth  of  water  of  14  ft  at  high  tide.  Barry  aad  Patten,  Men 
and  Mem.,  17,  confound  this  with  Sacramento-st  wh.,  owned  by  Stevenson  & 
Parker,  800  ft  long,  extending  from  Sansome  st  to  Davis.  Clay-st  wh.  was 
being  rapidly  carried  out  over  1,000  ft,  with  a  width  of  40  ft,  and  started 
from  a  mole  or  staging  at  Sherman  &  Ruckle's  store,  says  Grimshaw,  Narr., 
MS.,  14;  Washington-st  wh.  was  275  ft  long;  Jackson-st  wh.,  552  ft,  ended 
at  Front  st  in  13  ft  of  water.  The  well-built  Pacific-st  wh.  extended  over 
500  ft  (probably  to  be  completed  to  800  ft)  by  60  ft  in  width;  Broadway  wh., 
250  ft  long  by  40  ft,  was  the  landing-place  of  the  Sacramento  steamers.  Bantes' 
Or.  and  Cal.,  MS.,  19;  Henshaw's  Stat.,  MS.,  2.  Cunningham's  wh.,  between 
Vallejo  and  Green  sts,  was  375  ft  by  33  ft,  with  a  right-angle  extension  of 
330  ft  by  30  ft,  at  a  depth  of  25  ft.  The  Green-st  or  Law's  wh.  was  under 
construction,  and  at  North  Beach  a  1,700-ft  wharf  from  foot  of  Taylor  st 
was  projected.  See,  further,  Annals  8.  F.,  291-3;  Dams'  GUmpses,  MS.,  265- 
78;  Bauer  s  Stat.,  MS.,  2;  Earl's  Stat.,  MS.,  1-10;  Lawsons  Autolnog.,  MS., 
16-17;  Bartletf*  Stat.,  MS.,  2;  Pac.  News,  May  2,  Aug.  27,  1850;  8.  F.  Pica 
yune,  Aug.  19,  Nov.  11,  1850;  S.  F.  Herald,  Oct.  22,  1850.  Howison's  wh., 
valued  at  $200,000,  was  offered  at  lottery,  tickets  $100.  Cal.  Courier,  Sept. 
26,  1850. 

4*  For  work  done  in  1847-8,  see  my  preceding  vol.,   v.  654-5. 

43  The  rains  began  on  Nov.  13th  and  terminated  in  March,  falling  during 


ings  were  flooded,  and  traffic  converted  the  streets  into 
swamps,  their  virgin  surface  trodden  into  ruts  and 
rivers  of  mud.  In  places  they  were  impassable,  and 
so  deep  that  rnan  and  beast  sank  almost  out  of  sight. 
Many  animals  were  left  to  their  fate  to  suffocate  in 
the  mire,  and  even  human  bodies  were  found  ingulfed 
in  Montgomery  street.44 

Driven  by  necessity,  owners  and  shop-keepers  sought 
to  remedy  the  evil — for  the  municipal  fund  was  scanty 
— by  forming  sidewalks  and  crossings  with  whatever 
material  that  could  be  obtained,  but  in  a  manner  which 
frequently  served  to  wall  the  liquid  rnud  into  lakes. 
The  common  brush  filling  proved  unstable  traps  in 
which  to  entangle  the  feet  of  horses.  The  cost  of  ma 
terial  and  labor  did  not  encourage  more  perfect  meas 
ures.  It  so  happened  that  with  the  inflow  of  shipments 
many  cargoes  contained  goods  in  excess  of  the  demand, 
such  as  tobacco,  iron,  sheet-lead,  cement,  beans,  salt 
beef,  and  the  cost  of  storage  being  greater  than  their 
actual  or  prospective  value,  they  could  be  turned  to 
no  better  use  than  for  fillage.  Thus  entire  lines  of 
sidewalks  were  constructed  of  expensive  merchandise 
in  bales  and  boxes,  which  frequently  decayed,  to  the 
injury  of  health.45  The  absence  of  lamps  rendered 

71  days,  or  half  the  time.  S.  F.  Direct.,  1852,  12.  Lower  lying  buildings 
were  flooded.  Suttons  Stat.,  MS.,  7. 

44  Schmiedell,  Stat.,  MS.,   5-6,  mentions  one  man  who  was  suffocated  in 
the  mud.     Another  witness  refers  to  three  such  cases,  due  probably  to  intoxi 
cation.     See  also  HittelVs  S.   F.,   154;   S.  F.  Bull,  Jan.  23,  1867.      'I  have 
seen  mules  stumble  in  the  street  and  drown  in  the  liquid  mud,'  writes  Gen. 
Sherman,  Mem.,  i.  67.     At  the  corner  of  Clay  and  Kearny  sts  stood  posted 
the  warning:    'This  street   is   impassable,  not   even  jackassable! '    Uplvams 
Notes,  268.     At  some  crossings  '  soundings '  varied  from  two  to  five  feet. 
Shaw's  Golden  Dreams,  47. 

45  A  sidewalk  was  made  from  Montgomery  st  to  the  mail  steamer  office  '  of 
boxes  of  1st  class  Virginia  tobacco,  containing  100  Ibs.  each,  that  would  be 
worth  75  cts  a  pound.'  Cole's  Vig.,  MS.,  3.     Tons  of  wire  sieves,  iron,  rolls  of 
sheet  lead,  cement,  and  barrels  of  beef  were  sunk  in  the  mud.     Tobacco  was 
found  to  be  the  cheapest  material  for  small  building  foundations.  NealVs  Vig., 
MS.,   16;  Fay's  Facts,  MS.,  3.     Foundations  subsequently  were  sometimes 
worth  more  than  the  house.    Some  Chile  beans  sunk  for  a  crossing  on  Broadway 
would  have  made  a  fortune  for  the  owner  a  few  weeks  later.   Garniss  Early 
Days,  MS.,   14;  Lambertie,  Voy.,  MS.,  202-3.     There   were  a  few  planked 
sidewalks.  Sutton's  Stat.,  MS.,  7;  Cal  Past  and  Present,  149-50;   Bartlett's 
Stat.,  MS.,  7;  Sc/tenck's  Vig.,  MS.,  16. 


progress  dangerous  at  night,46  and  the  narrowness  of 
the  path  led  to  many  a  precipitation  into  the  mud, 
whence  the  irate  victims  would  arise  ready  to  fight  the 
first  thing  he  met.  Long  boots  and  water-proof  suits 
were  then  common. 

The  experiences  of  the  winter  led  in  1850  to  more 
substantial  improvements.  The  municipal  government 
adopted  a  system  of  grades,  under  which  energetic 
work  was  done;  so  much  so  that  before  the  following 
winter,  which  was  excessively  dry,  the  central  parts  of 
the  town  might  be  regarded  as  practically  graded  and 
planked,  a  portion  being  provided  with  sewers.47  With 
the  rapid  construction  of  saw-mills  on  the  coast,  sup 
plemented  by  the  large  importation  of  lumber  from 
Oregon,  this  article  became  so  abundant  and  cheap  as 
to  restrict  to  small  proportions  the  use  of  stone  ma 
terial  for  streets. 

In  the  adoption  of  grades  the  local  government  had 
been  hasty ;  for  three  years  later  a  new  system  had  to 
be  adopted,  partly  to  conform  to  the  gradual  exten 
sion  of  the  city  into  the  bay.  This  involved  the 

46Pac.  News,  of  May  9,  1850,  complains  that  Kearny  st  is  left  to  darkness. 
Lights  were  not  introduced  till  the  spring  of  1851.  S.  F.  Directory,  1852,  18. 

47  Montgomery,  Kearny,  and  Dupont  sts,  from  Broadway  to  Sacramento, 
and  even  to  California  st,  were  so  far  to  receive  sewers.  The  grading  and 
planking  extended  in  1852  from  the  junction  of  Battery  and  Market  sts  diag 
onally  to  Sacramento  and  Dupont  sts,  and  from  Dupont  and  Broadway  to  the 
bay,  covering  nearly  all  the  intermediate  district,  except  the  land  portion  of 
Broadway  and  Pacific.  See  Barker's  plan  in  S.  F.  Directory  of  1852.  The 
S.  F.  Annals,  29G,  leaves  a  wrong  impression  of  progress  by  the  beginning  of 
Nov.  1850,  by  stating  that  these  improvements  were  now  being  executed 
within  the  section  embraced  between  the  diagonal  line  running  from  Market 
and  Battery  to  Stockton  and  Clay  sts  on  the  south,  and  the  line  stretching 
from  Dupont  and  Broadway  straight  to  the  bay,  besides  odd  sections  on  the 
north-west  to  Taylor  st,  and  northward  about  Ohio,  Water,  and  Francisco  sts. 
i^ee  S.  F.  Herald,  June  28,  July  31,  Oct.  29,  1S50;  A  Ita  Gal,  Dec.  21,  1850, 
and  other  numbers.  La  Motte,  Stat.,  MS.,  1-2,  did  some  grading.  Larkins 
Doc.,  vii.  219;  Cal  Courier,  Sept.  3,  14,  21,  27,  Dec.  2,  5,  1850;  /S',  F  Picayune, 
Aug.  19,  Sept.  6,  9,  Oct.  10,  23,  1850.  There  was  a  bridge  over  the  lagoon 
at  Jackson  and  Kearny  sts,  observes  Pac.  News,  Dec.  20,  1849,  June  5,  1820, 
whose  editor  boasts  that  no  city  in  the  union  '  presents  a  greater  extent  of 
planked  streets.  Over  40,000  feet,  or  above  7^  miles  of  streets  have  been 
graded;  19,800  feet  have  been  planked;'  and  more  planking  contracted  for 
The  city  paid  one  third  of  the  expense,  levying  for  the  remainder  on  the 
property  facing  the  streets  concerned.  The  4rst  sidewalk,  of  stringers  and 
barrel-staves,  was  laid  on  the  south  side  of  Clay  st  between  Montgomery  and 
Kearny,  says  Williams,  Stat.,  MS.,  4-5.  King  of  William  laid  the  first 
brick  sidewalk.  Cal  Courier,  July  23,  1850. 


lifting  of  entire  blocks  of  heavy  brick  houses  in  the 
business  centre,  and  elsewhere  to  elaborate  cutting  and 
filling  with  substructure  and  inconvenient  approaches. 
The  expense  of  the  work  was  absolutely  appalling;  the 
more  so  as  much  of  it  had  been  needless,  and  the  re 
sult  on  the  whole  miserably  inadequate  and  disfigur 

In  San  Francisco  was  much  bad  planning.49  Yioget's 
pencillings  were  without  much  regard  for  configura 
tion,  or  for  the  pathways  outlined  by  nature  and  early 
trafficking  toward  the  presidio  and  mission.  O'Far- 
rell's  later  extension  was  no  better.50  Both  rejected 
the  old-fashioned  adaptation  to  locality,  with  terraced 
slopes  suited  to  the  site.  Terraces  and  winding  as 
cents  would  have  rendered  available  and  fashionable 
many  of  the  slopes  which  for  lack  of  such  approaches 
were  abandoned  to  rookeries  or  left  tenantless.  More 
over,  while  selecting  and  holding  obstinately  to  the 
bare  rigidity  of  right  angles  they  distorted  the  plan 
from  the  beginning.  The  two  proposed  main  streets, 
instead  of  being  made  greater  avenues  for  traffic  and 
dominant  factors  in  the  extension  of  the  city  by  stretch 
ing  them  between  Telegraph  and  Russian  hills  to  the 

48  The  new  grade,  prepared  by  M.  Hoadley  and  W.  P.  Humphreys,  was 
adopted  on  Aug.  26,  1850,  and  although  afterward  modified,  involved  heavy 
cost  by  raising  former  levels  as  much  as  five  feet,  especially  on  business  streets 
where  brick  buildings  had  been  erected.     Here  in  lower  lying  parts  changes 
were  imperative.    Nearly  1,000  brick  buildings  have  been  raised,  some  of  large 
extent.     On  hill  sites  greater  latitude  was  allowed.     The  requirement  of  the 
plan  for  vertical  cuts  of  200  feet  into  Telegraph  hill  at  the  intersection  of 
Montgomery  and  Kearny  with  Greenwich  and  Filbert,  and  of  corresponding 
depths  elsewhere,  could  not  be  entertained,  for  the  cost  would  have  been  in 
some  cases  50  times  more  than  the  value  of  the  lots.     Elsewhere  cuttings  of 
over  50  feet  were  frequently  adopted,  although  not  always  enforced.     The 
demand  for  ballast  and  filling  material  tended  to  obviate  the  main  difficulty — 
the  expense — as  in  the  case  of  Telegraph  hill.     With  aid  of  the  steam-exca 
vator,  or  paddy,  as  this  supplanter  of  Irish  labor  has  been  dubbed,  which 
could  swing  round  with  a  hogshead  of  sand  at  every  scoop,  a  truck  car  could 
be  filled  in  a  few  minutes  from  most  of  the  hills.     It  has  been  estimated  that 
an  average  of  nine  feet  of  cutting  and  filling  has  been  done  upon  3,000  acres 
of  the  San  Francisco  site,  implying  the  transfer  of  nearly  22,000,000  cubic 
yards  of  sand. 

49  The  plea  that  a  large  city  was  not  thought  of  in  1839  is  valid  only  to  a 
certain  extent. 

50  The  conformation  to  the  change  made  was  largely  undertaken  during 
the' winter  1849-50.     Williams'  Stat.,  MS.,  3.     For  surveys  and  defects,  see  my 
preceding  vol.  v. 


then  promising  expanse  of  North  Beach,  and  so  form 
ing  a  rectangle  to  the  southern  main,  Market  street, 
they  were  circumscribed,  and  allowed  to  terminate 
aimlessly  in  the  impassable  Telegraph  hill.  This  pri 
mary  error,  whose  remedy  was  too  late  attempted  in  the 
costly  opening  of  Montgomery  avenue,  had  a  marked 
effect  on  the  city  in  distributing  its  business  and  so 
cial  centres,  in  encroaching  upon  the  rights  and  com 
forts  of  property  owners,  and  in  the  lavish  squandering 
of  millions.  Then,  again,  the  streets  were  made  too 
narrow,  resulting  in  the  decadence  of  many  otherwise 
advantageous  quarters,  while  some  were  altered 
only  at  an  immense  outlay  for  widening.  Add  to  this 
such  abnormities  as  alternating  huge  ditches  and  em 
bankments  with  lines  of  houses  left  perched  at  vary 
ing  altitudes  upon  the  brow  of  cliffs,  sustained  by 
unsightly  props,  and  accessible  only  by  dizzy  stair 
ways.  True,  the  extension  into  the  bay  in  a  measure 
required  the  levelling  of  hills,  and  so  reduced  the  ab 
surdity;  on  the  other  hand,  this  advance  into  the 
waters  rendered  worse  a  defective  drainage  system, 
so  much  so  that,  notwithstanding  the  change  of  levels, 
the  health  and  convenience  of  the  city  would  be  seri 
ously  endangered  but  for  the  ruling  west  winds.  This 
remedy,  however,  is  nearly  as  bad  as  the  disease,  in 
the  way  of  comfort  at  least.1 


The  errors  and  mishaps  connected  with  San  Fran 
cisco  are  greatly  due  to  haste  and  overdoing.  One 
half  of  the  activity  would  have  accomplished  twice  the 
result.  Fortunes  were  spent  in  building  hastily  and 
inefficiently;  seas  were  scoured  for  bargains  when 
there  were  better  ones  at  home;  the  Sierra  was 

51  Several  writers  have  commented  on  different  features  of  the  plan,  which 
Player  Frowd,  Six  Mont/is,  23,  terms  '  a  monument  of  the  folly . .  to  improve 
natural  scenery.'  Hubner,  Jtamble,  145-7,  and  Upton,  in  Overland  Mo.,  ii. 
131,  join  with  others  in  condemning  the  disregard  for  natural  features.  In 
the  Annals  S.  F.,  160-1,  was  placed  a  protest  against  the  monotony  of  the 
square,  and  the  lack  of  public  parks  and  gardens.  The  inequality  of  streets 
was  the  more  striking  when  it  is  seen  that  the  central  streets,  from  east  to  west, 
were  only  60  feet  wide,  while  those  south  of  Market,  a  comparative  suburb, 
were  over  80  feet,  with  variations  in  other  quarters. 


beaten  for  gold  which  flowed  of  its  own  accord  to  the 
door  of  the  steady  trader ;  a  pittance  set  aside  for  land 
would  have  made  rich  the  defeated  wrestler  with  for 
tune.  Anything,  however,  but  to  quietly  wait;  wealth 
must  be  obtained,  and  now,  and  that  by  rushing 
hither  and  thither  in  search  of  it,  by  scheming,  strug 
gling,  and  if  needs  be  dying  for  it. 

One  bitter  fruit  of  the  improvident  haste  of  the 
city-builders  was  early  forthcoming  in  a  series  of  dis 
astrous  conflagrations,  which  stamped  San  Francisco 
as  one  of  the  most  combustible  of  cities,  the  houses 
being  as  inflammable  as  the  temper  of  the  inhabi 

52  The  first  of  the  series  took  place  early  on  Christmas  eve,  1849,  after  one 
of  those  nights  of  revelry  characterizing  the  flush  days.  It  started  in  Deni- 
son's  Exchange,  in  the  midst  of  the  gambling  district,  on  the  east  side  of  the 
plaza,  next  to  the  Parker  house,  the  flames  being  observed  about  6  A.  M.,  Dec. 
24th.  Premonitory  warnings  had  been  given  in  the  burning  of  the  Shades 
hotel  in  Jan.  1849,  and  the  ship  Philadelphia  in  June,  as  she  was  about  to 
sail.  S.  F.  Directory,  1852,  10.  Although  the  weather  was  calm,  the  flames 
spread  to  the  rear  and  sides  among  the  tinder  walls  that  filled  the  block,  till 
the  greater  part  of  it  presented  a  mass  of  flame.  So  scorching  was  the  heat 
that  houses  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  street,  and  even  beyond,  threatened  to 
ignite.  Fortunately  the  idea  occurred  to  cover  them  with  blankets,  which 
were  kept  freely  saturated.  One  merchant  paid  one  dollar  a  bucket  for  water 
to  this  end;  others  bespattered  their  walls  with  mud.  Conspicuous  among 
the  fire  fighters  was  David  Broderick,  a  New  York  fireman  now  rising  to 
political  prominence.  Buckets  and  blankets  might  have  availed  little,  how 
ever,  but  for  the  prompt  order  to  pull  down  and  blow  up  a  line  of  houses,  and 
so  cut  off  food  for  the  flames.  The  greater  part  of  the  block  between  Wash 
ington  and  Clay  streets  and  Kearny  and  Montgomery  streets  was  destroyed, 
involving  the  loss  of  a  million  and  a  quarter  of  dollars.  Stanley's  Speech,  1854. 
Nearly  50  houses  fell,  all  save  a  fringe  on  Clay  and  Montgomery  sts,  then 
perhaps  the  most  important  block  in  town.  Bayard  Taylor,  who  witnessed 
the  fire,  gives  a  detailed  account  in  Eldorado,  ii.  71-4.  Upham,  Notes,  26G, 
and  Neall,  Vig.,  MS.,  14-15,  add  some  incidents;  and  Pac.  News,  Dec.  25-29, 
1849,  Jan.  1,  1850,  supplies  among  the  journals  some  graphic  versions.  The 
Eldorado,  Parker  house,  Denison's  Exchange,  U.  S.  coffee  house,  were  among 
the  noted  resorts  swept  away.  Polynesian,  vi.  142;  Hunt's  Mag.,  xxxi.  114. 
While  the  fire  was  still  smouldering,  its  victims  could  be  seen  busily  planning 
for  new  buildings.  Within  a  few  days  many  of  the  destroyed  resorts  had 
been  replaced  with  structures  better  than  their  predecessors.  Toward  the 
end  of  Jan.  1850,  not  a  vestige  remained  of  the  fire.  Cornwall  contracted  to 
raise  the  Exchange  within  15  days,  or  forfeit  $500  for  every  day  in  excess  of 
the  term.  He  succeeded.  Williams"  Pec.,  MS.,  13. 

The  second  great  fire  broke  out  on  May  4,  1850,  close  to  the  former 
starting  point,  and  swept  away  within  seven  hours  the  three  blocks  between 
Montgomery  and  Dupont  sts,  bounded  by  Jackson  and  Clay  sts  and  the  north 
and  east  sides  of  Portsmouth  square,  consuming  300  houses  and  other  prop 
erty,  to  the  value  of  over  four  millions.  Stanley,  Speech,  1854,  says  $4,250,000; 
others  have  $3,000,000  to  $4,000,000;  Pac.  News,  May  4,  15,  1850,  $5,000,000. 
One  life  was  lost.  Larkins  Doc.,  vii.  208.  Dubois'  bank  and  Burgoyne  &  Co.  s 


Such  a  succession  of  disasters  might  well  have 
crushed  any  community,  and  croakers  were  not  want- 
house  alone  escaped  in  the  Clay-st  block;  and  northward  only  a  row  fringing 
Jackson  above  Montgomery  st.  S.  F.  Directory,  1852,  15.  The  flames  were 
stayed,  especially  on  Dupont  st,  by  the  voluntary  tearing  down  of  many  build 
ings.  S.  F.  Annals,  274,  with  diagram.  Details  in  Pac.  News,  May  4-9,  1850; 
Atta  Cal,  May  27,  June  6,  1850.  The  conduct  of  certain  criminals  confirmed 
the  belief  in  incendiarism,  arid  a  reward  of  §5,000  led  to  several  arrests,  but 
nothing  could  be  proved.  The  fire  started  at  4  A.  M.,  on  May  4th,  in  the  U. 
S.  Exchange,  a  rickety  gambling-place.  In  S.  F.  Herald,  June  15,  1850,  it  is 
stated  that  200  houses  were  burned,  with  a  loss  of  three  millions.  As  on 
the  previous  occasion,  thousands  of  curious  spectators  gathered  to  the  sound 
of  the  fire  bells  to  add  their  clamor  to  the  uproar.  Appeals  to  the  crowd  for 
aid  met  with  no  hearty  response,  unless  attended  by  money,  a3  Taylor,  Eldo 
rado,  75,  observed  in  Dec.  1849.  A  number  were  engaged  at  $3  an  hour;  $60 
was  paid  for  a  cartload  of  water.  Shaw's  Golden  Dreams,  179.  A  crowd  of 
men  who  claimed  to  have  assisted  at  the  fire  raised  almost  a  riot  on  being  re 
fused  compensation  by  the  city  council.  This  august  body  was  profoundly 
moved,  and  ordinances  were  passed  obliging  all,  under  penalty,  to  render  ai.l 
on  such  occasions  when  called  upon.  Precautionary  measures  were  also 
adopted,  and  impulse  was  given  to  the  development  of  the  fire  department 
started  after  the  first  calamity — such  as  digging  wells,  forming  reservoirs, 
ordering  every  householder  to  keep  six  buckets  of  water  prepared  for  emer 
gencies,  and  the  like.  Annals  S.  F.,  276.  It  is  claimed  that  in  ten  days  more 
than  half  the  burned  district  was  rebuilt. 

While  the  rebuilding  of  the  burned  district  was  still  in  progress,  on  June 
14th,  the  alarm  sounded  once  more  near  the  old  point  of  ignition,  from  the 
Sacramento  house  on  the  east  side  of  Kearny  st,  between  Clay  and  Sacra 
mento.  Cause,  a  defective  stove-pipe,  S.  F.  Directory,  1852,  16;  in  the 
kitchen,  adds  another,  which  the  Annals  S.  F.,  277,  ascribes  to  a  baker's 
chimney  in  the  rear  of  the  Merchants'  hotel.  The  fire  started  just  before 
8  A.  M.  Within  a  few  hours  the  district  between  Clay  and  California  sts, 
from  Kearny  st  to  the  water-front,  lay  almost  entirely  in  ashes,  causing  a 
loss  of  over  three  million  dollars.  Stanley,  as  above,  has  $3,500,000;  the 
Annals  nearly  $5,000,000;  the  Directory  $3,000,000,  embracing  300  houses. 
Jas  King  of  William  s  bank  was  torn  down;  many  ships  were  in  danger.  Cal. 
Courier,  July  16,  1850,  etc.  This  fire  led  to  the  erection  of  more  substantial 
buildings  of  brick,  and  some  stone. 

The  fourth  great  conflagration,  on  September  17,  1850,  started  on  Jack 
son  street,  and  ravaged  the  greater  part  of  the  blocks  between  Dupont  and 
Montgomery  sts  embraced  by  Washington  and  Pacific  sts.  The  section  was 
about  equal  to  the  preceding,  but  covered  mostly  by  one-story  wooden 
houses,  so  that  the  loss  did  not  exceed  half  a  million  dollars — the  Annals  says 
between  one  quarter  and  one  half  million;  yet  Stanley  has  one  million;  150 
houses,  and  nearly  half  a  million,  according  to  S.  F.  Directory,  1852,  17 
Details  in  S.  F.  Picayune,  S.  F.  Herald,  and  Cal.  Courier,  of  Sept  18,  1850, 
etc.  In  estimating  values  it  must  be  considered  that  after  1849  material, 
labor,  and  method  became  cheaper  and  more  effective  year  by  year,  so  that 
the  cost  of  replacing  differed  greatly  from  the  original  outlay.  A  scanty 
water  supply  and  the  lack  of  a  directing  head  hampered  the  praiseworthy 
efforts  of  the  fire  companies.  The  fire  began  at  4  A.  M.  in  the  Philadelphia 
house,  on  the  north  side  of  Jackson  st,  between  Dupont  and  Kearny,  near 
Washington  market.  On  October  31st  a  blaze  on  Clay-st  hill  consumed  the 
City  hospital,  owned  by  Dr  Peter  Smith,  and  an  adjoining  building,  where 
the  fire  began;  loss,  a  quarter  of  a  million;  supposed  incendiarism.  It  was 
marked  by  severe  injury  to  several  of  the  hospital  inmates,  before  they  could 
be  rescued.  Cal.  Courier,  Oct.  31,  1850.  Less  extensive  but  twice  as  costly 
was  the  blaze  of  Dec.  14th,  on  Sacramento  street,  which  consumed  several 



The  jagged  line  below  Montgomery  st  indicates  the  extent  of  filled  ground 
beyond  the  natural  shore  line.  The  larger  portions  even  of  the  central  blocks  were 
covered  by  wooden  buildings.  The  following  list,  referred  to  the  plan  by  num 
bers,  embraces  nearly  all  the  notable  exceptions,  occupied  by  a  larr^e  proportion  of 
the  leading  business  firms.  The  fire  consumed  also  most  of  the  streets  beyond  the 
water  line,  which,  being  really  wharves  on  piling,  burned  readily. 
1.  City  Hotel,  brick  building  30.  Bereuhardt,  Jacoby,  &  Co.,  Hellman 

&  Bros,  wooden  b. 

31.  Pioche  Bayerque,  brick   and    iron, 

several  iron  b.  in  rear. 

32.  Bonded  warehouse,  iron. 

33     Starkey,  Janion,  &  Co.,  b'k  and  iron. 

34.  I.  Naylor,  Cooke  Bros,  brick. 

35.  Helman  &  Bro.,  brick. 

36.  Starr  &  Minturn,  and  others,  2  iron 

and  2  brick  b. 

37     Hastier,  Baines,  &  Co.,  brick. 

iv>.     UIUUVACIIU.  wiiiv,^,  i/ii^j».  38.    Jones'  Hotel,  wooden. 

11.    Johnson  &  Calfield,  wooden  b.,  ad-    39,    P  M.  Steam  Navig.  Co.,  brick. 



Fitzgerald,  Bausch,  Brewster,  brick 

Capt.  Folspm,  iron  building,  adjoin 

ing  brick  b.  burned. 
Custom-house,  brick  b. 
Rising  &  Casili,  brick  and  iron. 
Cramer,  Rambach,  &  Co.,  brick, 
R.  Wells  &  Co.   banker  brick 
Treadwell  &  Co  .  brick. 
J.  Hahn  &  Co.   brick. 
Standard  office,  brick 


joining  brick  b  burned 

Moffatt  s  Laboratory  brick. 

Quartermaster's  office,  brick. 

Gildermeister   De  Fremery,  & 

U    S.  Assayer's  office.  Dodge's  Ex 
press,  F  Argenti  banker,  brick 

B  Davidson,  banker  brick. 

Wells  &  Co  ,  bankers,  brick. 

California  Exchange,  brick. 

Union  Hotel  brick 

El  Dorado  gambling-place,  brick. 

Tallaut  &  Wilde   bankers,  Page,  Ba 
con,  &  Co    bankers,  brick. 

Gregory's  Express,  brick. 

Delmonico's,  brick,  and  three  adjoin 
ing  brick  b  burned 

Burgoyne  &  Co.  bankers,  brick. 

The  Verandah  resort,  brick. 

Ev  Picayune,  journal,  brick. 

40.  W  Gibb  brick. 

41.  Godeffroy,  Sillem,  &  Co.,  brick. 
42  Bonded  warehouse,  iron. 

43.  Herald  office,  brick. 

44.  Courier  office,  brick. 

45  Niantic,'  store  ship. 

46  Baldwin's  Bank,  iron. 

47  J  B.  Bidleman,  brick. 
48.  Cronise  &  Bertelot,  iron. 

4J  Larco  &  Co.,  brick,  iron  adjoining. 

50  Huerlin  &  Belcher,  brick. 

51.  Balance  office,  brick. 

52.  Dewitt  &  Harrison,  brick. 

53  Macondray  &  Co.,  brick,  iron,  and 


54.  Appraiser's  office,  iron. 

55  Dunker  and  others,  iron. 

56  'Apollo, '  store  ship. 

57  'Gen.  Harrison,   store  ship. 
58.  Georgean,' store  ship 

59  Cross  &  Co.   iron. 

60  Bonded  stores,  iron. 

Besides  the  above,  a  score  and  more  of  brick  and  iron  buildings  were  destroyed. 


ing  to  predict  the  doom  of  the  city.  Street  preachers 
proclaimed  the  visitation  to  be  a  divine  vengeance  upon 

iron  buildings  with  valuable  merchandise.  It  was  below  Montgomery  st; 
losa  about  one  million  This  shook  the  faith  in  corrugated  iron  walls.  De 
tails  in  Pac.  Neivs,  and  S.  F.  Picayune ,  of  Dec.  15-16,  1850 

Then  followed  an  interval  of  fortunate  exemption,  and  then  with  accumu 
lated  fury  on  the  anniversary  of  the  preceding  largest  conflagration,  the  cul 
minating  disaster  burst  upon  the  city  Started  undoubtedly  uy  incendiaries, 
the  tire  broke  out  late  on  May  3,  1851,  on  the  south  side  of  the  plaza,  in  the 
Upholstery  and  paint  establishment  of  Baker  and  Messerve,  just  above  Bry 
ant's  hotel,  at  HP  M.,  say  most  accounts;  but  Schenck,  Vij.,  MS.,  45,  has 
9:20;  yet  it  is  called  the  fire  of  May  4th,  partly  because  most  of  the  destruc 
tion  was  then  consummated.  One  of  the  gang  headed  by  Jack  Edwards, '  was 
the  cause  of  it,  says  Schenck.  Aided  by  a  strong  north-west  breeze,  it  leaped 
across  Kearny  Bt  upon  the  oft-ravaged  blocks,  the  flames  chasing  one  another, 
first  south-eastward,  then,  with  the  shifting  wind,  turning  north  and  east. 
The  spaces  under  the  planking  of  the  streets  and  sidewalks  acted  as  funnels, 
which,  sucking  in  the  flames,  carried  them  to  sections  seemingly  secure,  there 
to  startle  the  unsuspecting  occupants  with  a  sudden  outbreak  all  along  the 
surface,  Rising  aloft,  the  whirling  volumes  seized  upon  either  side,  shrivel 
ling  the  frame  houses,  and  crumbling  with  their  intense  heat  the  stout  walh 
of  supposed  fire-proof  structures,  crushing  all  within  and  without.  The  iron 
shutters,  ere  falling  to  melt  in  the  furnace,  expanded  within  the  heat,  cutting 
off  escape,  and  roasting  alive  some  of  the  inmates.  Six  men  who  had  occu 
pied  the  building  of  Taaffe  and  McCahill,  at  the  corner  of  Sacramento  and 
Montgomery,  were  lost;  12  others,  fire  fighters  in  Naglee's  building,  nar 
rowly  escaped;  3  were  crushed  by  one  falling  wall;  and  now  many  more  were 
killed  and  injured  no  one  can  say.  The  fire  companies  worked  well,  but 
their  tiny  streams  of  Water  were  transformed  into  powerless  vapor.  More 
effectual  than  water  was  the  pulling  down  and  blowing  up  of  buildings;  but 
this  proved  effectual  only  in  certain  directions.  Voluntary  destruction  went 
hand  in  hand  with  the  inner  devastation;  the  boom  of  explosion  mingling 
with  the  cracking  of  timber,  the  crash  of  tumbling  walls,  and  the  dull  de 
tonation  from  falling  roofs.  A  momentary  darkening,  then  a  gush  of  scintil 
lating  sparks,  followed  by  fiery  columns,  which  still  rose,  while  the  canopy 
of  smoke  sent  their  reflection  for  a  hundred  miles  around,  even  to  Monterey. 
It  is  related  that  the  brilliant  illumination  in  the  moonless  night  attracted 
flocks  of  brant  from  the  marshes,  which,  soaring  to  and  fro  above  the  flames, 
glistened  like  specks  of  burnished  gold.  Helpers  LandofGolcl,  144.  Finally, 
after  ten  hours  the  flames  abated,  weakened  by  lack  of  ready  materials, 
and  checked  on  one  side  by  the  waters  of  the  bay,  where  the  wharves,  broken 
into  big  gaps,  interposed  a  shielding  chasm  for  the  shipping.  Of  the  great 
city  nothing  remained  save  sparsely  settled  outskirts.  All  the  business  dis 
trict  between  Pine  and  Pacific  sts,  from  Kearny  to  Battery,  on  the  water, 
presented  a  mass  of  ruins  wherein  only  a  few  isofated  houses  still  reared  their 
blistered  walls,  besides  small  sections  at  each  of  its  four  corners.  Westward 
and  north-eastward  additional  inroads  had  been  made,  extending  the  devas 
tation  altogether  over  22  blocks,  not  counting  sections  formed  by  alleys,  and 
of  these  the  greater  number  Were  utterly  ravaged,  as  shown  in  the  annexed 
plan.  The  number  of  destroyed  houses  has  been  variously  estimated  at  from 
over  1,000  to  nearly  2,000,  involving  a  loss  of  nearly  twelve  million  dollars, 
a  sum  larger  than  that  for  all  the  preceding  great  fires  combined.  Only  17 
of  the  attacked  buildings  were  saved,  while  more  than  twice  that  number  of 
so-called  fire-proof  edifices  succumbed.  Schenck,  Vig.,  MS.,  44-8,  who  had 
some  painful  experiences  during  the  fire,  places  their  number  at  68,  including 
the  only  two  insured  buildings,  one,  No.  41  on  plan,  a  single  story,  with  22- 
inch  brick  walls,  earth -covered,  and  having  heavy  iron  shutters.  The  long 
application,  for  insurance  on  this  building  was  granted  at  Harlem,  unknown  to 


the  godless  revellers  and  gamblers  of  this  second 
Sodom;  and  rival  towns  declared  a  situation  so  ex 
posed  to  constant  winds  could  never  be  secure  or 
desirable  But  it  is  not  easy  to  uproot  a  metropolis 
once  started;  and  Californians  were  not  the  men  to 
despair  Many  of  them  had  been  several  times  stricken, 
losing  their  every  dollar ;  but  each  time  they  rallied 
and  renewed  the  fight.  Reading  a  lesson  in  the 
blow,  they  resolved  to  take  greater  precautions,  and 
while  frail  shelter53  had  temporarily  to  be  erected, 
owing  to  the  pressure  of  business  and  the  demand  for 
labor  and  material,  it  was  soon  replaced  by  substantial 
walls  which  should  offer  a  check  to  future  fires.  If 
so  many  buildings  supposed  to  be  fire-proof  had  fallen, 
it  was  greatly  owing  to  their  being  surrounded  by 
combustible  houses.  This  was  remedied  by  the  grad- 

tha  owners,  about  the  time  of  its  destruction.  The  policy  for  the  other  house, 
No.  14  of  plan,  came  at  the  same  time.  Insurance  companies  had  not  yet 
opened  here.  The  Jenny  Lind  theatre  fell.  The  principal  houses  as  reported 
in  A  Ita  CnL,  the  only  unburned  newspaper,  were  J.  B.  Bidleman,  $200,000;  E. 
Mickle  &  Co.,  $200,000;  Dall,  Austin,  &  Co.,  $150,000;  Simoiisfield,  Bach,  & 
Co.,  $150,000;  Starkey  Brothers,  $150,000;  De  Boom,  Vigneaux,  &  Co.,  $147,- 
000;  Oppenheimer,  Hirsch,  &  Co.,  $130,000;  Kelsey,  Smith,  &  Risley,  $125,- 
000;  Moore,  Tichenor,  &  Co.,  $120,000;  Treadwell  &  Co.,  $85,000;  Thomas 
Maguire,  $80,000;  Adelsdorfer  &  Neustadter,  $80,000;  Fredenburg  &  Moses, 
$75,000;  John  Cowell,  $70,000;  J.  L.  Folsom,  $65,000;  W.  D.  M.  Howard, 
$30,000;  Baron  Terlow,  $60,000;  Beck  &  Palmer,  $55,000;  J.  &  C.  Grant, 
$55,000;  Cross,  Hobson,  &  Co.,  $55,000;  Haight  &  Wadsworth,  $55,000;  W. 
0.  Bokee,  $50,000;  Lazard  Freres,  $50,000;  Annan,  Lord,  &  Co.,  $50,000; 
Herzog  &  Rhine,  $50,000;  Nichols,  Pierce,  &  Co.,  $50,000;  S.  Martin  &  Co., 
$50,000.  In  Annals  S.  F.,  331,  it  is  estimated  that  from  1,500  to  2,000 
houses  were  ruined,  extending  over  18  entire  squares,  with  portions  of  five 
or  six  more,  or  three  fourths  of  a  mile  from  north  to  south,  and  one  third  of 
a  mile  east  to  west;  damage  moderately  estimated  at  $10,000,000  to  $12,000,- 
000.  S.  F.  Directory,  1852,  18-19,  assumes  the  loss  at  from  $7,000,000  to  $12,- 
000,000;  Stanley,  Speech,  1854,  gives  the  latter  figure.  Dewitt  and  Harri 
son  saved  their  building,  g  of  plan,  by  pouring  out  83,000  gallons  of  vinegar. 
Schenck's  Vig.,  MS.,  48.  Rescued  effects  were  largely  sent  on  board  ships 
for  storage; -shelter  in  the  outskirts  was  costly.  Garniss,  Early  Days,  MS., 
19,  paid  $150  for  the  use  of  a  tent  for  10  days,  and  more  was  offered.  Rob 
ber  gangs  carried  off  large  quantities  of  goods,  a  portion  to  Goat  Island, 
whence  they  were  recovered,  but  effects  to  the  value  of  $150,000  or  $200,000 
are  supposed  to  have  been  carried  away  on  a  bark  which  had  lain  off  the 
island.  A  govt  vessel  made  a  fruitless  pursuit.  In  LarTdns  Doc.,  vii.  287-8, 
are  other  details.  The  store-ships  Niantic,  Gen.  Harrison,  and  Apollo  were 
wholly  or  partly  destroyed.  The  offices  of  the  Public,  Balance,  Picayune, 
Standard,  and  Courier  were  burned. 

^Larkin,  Doc.,  vii.  287,  writes  on  May  15th  that  250  small  houses  were 
then  rising,  75  already  with  tenants.  Sansome  st  was  much  improved  by 


nal  exclusion  of  unsafe  structures  from  within  desig 
nated  fire-limits,  by  the  improvement  of  the  fire 
department,  and  other  precautions,  all  of  which  com 
bined  to  preserve  the  city  from  similar  wide-spread 
disasters.  One  more  did  come,  to  form  the  sixth 
and  last  in  the  great  fire  series;  but  this  occur 
ring  in  the  following  month,  June  1851,  was  due 
partly  to  the  flimsiness  of  the  temporary  buildings, 
and  partly  to  the  lack  of  time  to  establish  preventive 
measures  and  weed  out  incendiary  hordes.  The  rav 
aged  district  extended  between  Clay  and  Broadway 
streets,  nearly  to  Sansome  and  Powell  streets,  cover 
ing  ten  entire  blocks,  and  parts  of  six  more,  with  about 
450  houses,  including  the  city  hall,  and  involving  a 
loss  of  two  and  a  half  million  dollars.54  Thus  purified 
by  misfortune,  and  by  the  weeding  out  of  rookeries 
and  much  filth,  the  city  rose  more  beautiful  than  ever 
from  its  ashes.55  Hereafter  it  was  admirably  guarded 
by  a  fire  department  which  from  a  feeble  beginning  in 
1850  became  one  of  the  most  efficient  organizations 
of  the  kind  in  the  world.56 

«* Stanley's  Speech,  1854.  Annals  S.  F.,  344,  says  $3,000,000;  S.  F.  Direc 
tory,  1852,  19,  over  $2,000,000.  The  fire  started  in  a  dwelling  on  the  north 
side  of  Pacific  street,  below  Powell,  at  about  11  A.  M.,  on  June  22d.  The 
Jenny  Lind  theatre  fell  again,  together  with  the  city  hospital,  the  old  adobe 
City  hotel,  the  Alta  office,  which  had  hitherto  escaped,  the  presbyterian 
church,  etc.  The  city  hall,  formerly  the  Graham  house,  was  a  four-story 
wooden  building,  on  the  N.  w.  corner  of  Kearny  and  Pacific  sts;  the  chief 
records  were  saved.  Dunbar's  bank  escaped  though  surrounded  by  fire. 
Say  ward's  Rem.,  MS.,  30.  Manager  T.  Maguire  was  burned  out  for  the  sixth 
time.  Sjven  lives  were  lost,  three  by  fire,  the  rest  by  the  mob  and  police, 
as  robbers  and  incendiaries,  yet  one  was  an  honest  man  assisting  his  friends 
to  save  property.  The  fire  companies  were  thwarted  by  lack  of  water,  and 
by  the  opposition  of  owners  to  the  pulling  down  of  their  buildings.  Alta  Cal., 
Sept.  21,  1851,  wails  over  the  destruction  of  old  landmarks.  The  progress 
of  fire-proof  buildings  is  shown  in  S.  F.  Directory  of  1852,  16,  which  states 
that  nearly  all  the  west  side  of  Montgomery  street,  between  Sacramento  and 
Washington,  was  lined  by  them.  Their  value  was  satisfactorily  tested  in 
Nov.  1852,  when  they  restricted  a  dangerous  fire  on  Merchant  and  Clay  streets 
to  30  wooden  buildings  worth  $100,000.  For  further  details  concerning  the 
great  fires  of  S.  F.,  I  refer  to  S.  J.  Pioneer,  Feb.  16,  1878;  FarwelVsMS.,  4;  An 
nals  S.  F.,  passim;  S.  F.  Bull.,  Nov.  27,  1856;  Cal.  Courier,  July  16,  Sept.  18, 
1850;  Williams'  Pion.  Past.,  44-8;  Tiffany  s  Pocket  Ex.  Guide,  124-6;  S.  F.  Call, 
May  14,  1871;  8.  F.  Alta,  July  1,  1850;  S.  F.  Pac.  Neivs,  May  4,  Dec.  16, 
1850;  Polynesian,  vii.  6,  30. 

5;>  As  commemorated  by  the  phoenix  on  its  seal. 

55  Before  the  fire  of  Dec.  24,  1849,  there  ha.l  been  no  serious  occasion  to 
drive  the  absorbed  money -gatherera  of  the  city  to  organized  method  for  protec- 


The  mining  excitement,  with  the  consequent  exodus 
of  people,  served  to  abate  but  partially  the  factious 

tiou  against  fire,  and  only  three  merchants  had  thought  of  introducing  fire- 
engines,  which  were,  indeed,  of  little  value  in  an  emergency.  Starkey,  Janion, 
&  Co.  owned  one  of  them,  the  Oahu,  which  had  been  nearly  worn  out  by  long 
S3rvice  in  Honolulu;  another  was  a  small  machine  belonging  to  Wm  Free, 
intended  for  a  mining  pump.  The  havoc  made  by  the  first  great  fire  roused 
the  people  to  the  necessity  for  action,  a:id  assisted  by  experienced  firemeu 
like  D.  C.  Broderick,  F.  D.  Kohler,  G.  H.  Hossefros,  G.  W.  Green,  W.  Me- 
Kibben,  Ben.  Ray,  C.  W.  Cornell,  J.  A.  McGlynn,  Col  Wason,  Douglas, 
Short,  and  others,  E,  Otis  organized  the  Independent  Axe  Company,  tl:e 
municipal  authorities  granting  &800  for  the  purchase  of  hooks,  axes,  and  other 
implements.  S.  F.  Minutes  LerjisL,  1849,  101,  106,  112,  116,  127-36;  Alta  Cat., 
and  Pac.  News,  Jan.  15,  17,  1850,  etc.  A  hook  and  ladder  company  ia  aba 
mentioned,  also  Mazeppa  Fire  Co.,  as  well  as  payments  and  other  acts  by  the 
fire  committee.  In  January  Kohler  was  appointed  chief  engineer  by  tlu 
council,  at  a  salary  of  $3,000,  with  instructions  to  form  a  fire  department,  to 
which  end  he  obtained  the  three  engines  in  the  city,  and  selected  for  each  a 
company,  Empire,  Protection,  and  Eureka.  No  fire  occurring  for  some  time, 
the  movement  declined  somewhat  under  absorbing  business  pursuits,  so  much 
so  that  the  next  disaster  found  scanty  preparations  to  meet  it.  hose  being 
especially  deficient.  After  this  the  appeal  to  the  public  received  greater  at 
tention,  and  in  June  1850  the  fire  department  was  formally  organized, 
with  the  Empire  Engine  Company  No.  1,  dating  formally  from  June  4th,  with 
D.  C.  Broderick  as  foreman,  G.  W.  Green,  assistant,  W.  McKibben,  secretary, 
and  including  F.  D.  Kohler,  C.  W.  Cornell,  J.  A.  McGlynn,  D.  Scannell,  C. 
T.  Borneo,  J.  Donohue,  C.  P.  Duane,  L.  P.  Bowman,  A.  G.  Russ.  It  selected 
'  Onward  '  for  a  motto,  and  formed  in  1857  a  target  company  of  125  muskets. 
Company  2  was  the  Protection,  succeeded  by  the  Lady  Washington,  and 
subsequently,  in  1852,  by  the  Manhattan.  According  to  the  Alta  Cal.  it  waa 
first  organized  informally  by  Ben.  Ray  in  1849.  Both  of  these  were  composed 
chiefly  of  New  York  men,  and  represented  the  New  York  element  in  politi 
cal  and  other  contests.  Company  3  was  the  Howard,  formed  June  14th  by 
Boston  men  under  guidance  of  F.  E.  R.  Whitney,  foreman,  first  chief  of  the 
later  paid  department.  It  was  named  in  honor  of  W.  H.  M.  Howard,  who 
presented  to  it  a  Hunneman  engine,  just  brought  by  his  order,  and  which  for 
a  long  time  remained  unsurpassed.  Among  the  members  were  J.  G.  Eagan, 
T.  K.  Battelle,  G.  L.  Cook.  This  was  originally  the  Eureka,  with  Frees 
toy  engine,  which  lost  the  claim  to  No.  1  by  a  few  hours  of  delay  in  organiz 
ing.  The  fire  of  June  22d  gave  fresh  impulse  to  organization,  and  on  Sept. 
7th  the  California,  company  4,  was  formed,  at  first  with  an  engine  loaned  by 
Cook  Bros  &  Co.,  soon  replaced  by  a  mate  to  the  Howard.  The  members, 
chiefly  residents  of  Happy  Valley,  embraced  M.  G.  Leonard,  G.  U.  Shaw, 
W.  N.  Thompson,  G.  T.  Oakes,  G.  Endicott,  C.  Hyatt,  R.  S.  Lamott,  and  G.  M. 
Garwood,  foreman.  Company  5  was  the  Knickerbocker,  formed  Oct.  17th, 
with  a  small  wheezy  engine  nicknamed  Two-and-a-half  and  Yankee  Doodle. 
Foreman  J.  H.  Cutter,  with  J.  Wilson,  C.  E.  Buckingham,  R.  R.  Harris. 
Earlier  than  these  two  were  the  Monumental  6,  7,  8,  which  organized  in 
June  as  independent  companies,  joining  the  department  Only  in  Sept.,  and  so 
receiving  a  later  number.  It  was  composed  of  Baltimore  men,  with  a  mix 
ture  of  Philadelphians,  who  sported  three  small  engines,  Mechanical,  Union, 
and  Franklin.  Among  the  members  were  G.  H.  Hossefros,  long  foreman  and 
subsequently  chief,  W.  Divier,  J.  S.  Weathred,  J.  Capprise,  R.  B.  Hampton, 
W.  H.  Silverthorn,  J.  H.  Ruddock,  R.  H.  Bennett,  W.  L.  Bromley,  and  W. 
Lippincott.  Soon  after  resigning  No.  8  the  companies  consolidated  into  No. 
6,  in  1854,  with  an  improved  engine,  followed  in  1861  by  the  first  steam  fire- 
engine  in  the  city.  No.  7  was  filled  by  the  Volunteer,  and  No.  8  by  the  Pa 
cific.  Earlier  than  these  two,  in  1822,  were  the  Vigilant  and  Crescent,  chiefly 


spirit  roused  by  personal  feelings  and  business  ri 
valry,  and  strengthened  by  an  irritating  subordina 
tion  to  military  power.  But  it  fully  revived  with 
the  return  of  population  from  the  mines,  and  in 
December  1848  a  new  council  was  chosen.57  The 
result  was  far  from  pleasing  to  the  old  body,  which, 
rallying  its  partisans,  declared  the  election  nullified  by 
illegal  votes,  and  held  another  in  January.58  To  this 

of  New  Orleans  men;  Columbian  and  Pennsylvanian,  of  Philadelphians,  in 
cluding  the  later  Mayor  Alvord.  In  1854-55  followed  the  Young  American 
and  Tiger,  Nos.  13,  14,  the  former  at  the  mission,  the  latter  on  Second  st. 
In  early  days,  when  hose  and  water  were  scanty,  the  chief  work  fell  on 
the  hook  and  ladder  companies,  of  which  the  department  in  June  1850  counted 
three,  the  St  Francis,  composed  of  E.  V.  Joice,  S.  H.  Ward,  C.  P.  Duane, 
W.  A  Woodruff,  G.  B.  Gibbs,  B.  G.  Davis,  J.  C.  Palmer,  foreman,  and  others; 
the  Howard,  succeeded  by  Lafayette,  which  consisted  of  Frenchmen,  with  a 
Parisian  system  and  a  uniform  granted  by  Napoleon;  the  Sansome,  sustained 
chiefly  by  rich  business  men.  A.  De  Witt,  F.  Mahoney,  C.  L.  Case,  E.  A. 
Ebbets,  J.  L.  Van  Bokkelen,  G.  A.  Hudson,  W.  Adrain,  H.  A.  Harrison, 
W.  H.  Hoffman,  W.  Greene,  F.  A  Bartlett,  R.  L.  Van  Brunt,  were  among  the 
members.  Green,  Ebbets,  and  Van  Bokkelen  were  the  first  foremen.  Some 
years  later  hose  companies  were  added,  making  up  the  20  companies  called 
for  by  the  legislative  regulation  of  1851.  The  department  charter  is  dated 
July  1,  1850.  Kohler,  elected  chief  in  Sept.  1850,  was  succeeded  in  the  fol 
lowing  year  by  Whitney,  of  the  Baltimore  faction.  He  resigning,  Hossef ros  of 
the  Philadelphians  held  the  position  till  1853,  when  Duane  entered.  In  May 
1852  a  board  of  firewardens  was  formed.  The  records  of  the  department 
were  lost  in  the  fire  of  May  1851.  A  benevolent  fund  was  then  begun,  which 
by  1855  amounted  to  $32,000  and  grew  to  $100,000.  For  details,  see  Alia  Cal, 
June  14,  July  1,  etc.,  1850;  Nov.  16,  1866;  and  scattered  numbers  of  interme 
diate  years;  also  Pac.  Mews,  Oct.  18,  1850,  etc.;  Cal.  Courier,  Sept.  25,  1850; 
and  S,  F.  Herald,  June  17,  1850,  etc  ;  S  F.  Bulletin,  Dec.  3,  1866;  S.  F. 
Chronicle,  Nov.  11,  1877;  S  J.  Pioneer.  May  25,  1878;  S.  F.  Call,  Apr.  14, 
1878;  Annals  S.  F ,  614-25;  and  S  F  Directories,  that  of  1852,  enumerates  14 
companies,  whereof  2  are  for  hook  and  ladder;  No  4  was  situated  as  far  east 
as  Battery,  No.  9  on  Stockton,  near  Broadway,  the  rest  more  central.  The 
formation  of  companies,  each  as  much  as  possible  composed  of  men  hailing 
from  the  same  eastern  town,  led  to  clannishness  and  rivalry,  which  in  a  meas 
ure  was  stimulating  and  useful,  but  also  detrimental  in  leading  to  extrava 
gance,  political  strife,  and  even  bloody  affrays.  They  shared  in  military 
exploits,  and  in  August  1850  one  company  started  for  Sacramento  to  sup 
press  the  land  squatters.  They  vied  with  one  another  in  elaborately  fitting 
and  decorating  their  fire  stations.  The  Sansome  company's  station  furniture 
akme  cost  $5,000,  and  had  a  library.  While  they  merged  finally  at  the  close 
of  1869  into  a  paid  department,  their  noble  devotion  in  emergencies  must  ever 
be  commended,  leaving  as  they  did  business,  pleasure,  sleep,  and  comfort  to 
voluntarily  face  toil  and  danger  for  the  common  good. 

57  By  a  vote  of  347  on  Dec.  27th.     Members,  John  Townsend,  president, 
S  C.  Harris,  W.  D.  M.  Howard,  G   C.  Hubbard,  R.  A.  Parker,  T.  J  Roach, 
I.  Sirrine,  numbering  now  seven,  as  resolved.  Star  and  Cal.,  Dec.  16,  1848, 
etc.      For  earlier  members,  see  preceding  vol.  v.;  Califorman,  Oct.  7,  14,  1848, 
etc.;  Frignet,  Cal.,  122. 

58  On  the  15th.  Harris  and  Sirrine  were  reelected,  the  latter  becoming 
president.     The  other  members  were  L   Everhart,  S.  A    Wright,  D.  Starks, 
ju  Montgomery,  and  C.  E.  Wetmore.     The  election  for  delegates  during  the 

HIST.  CAL.,  VOL.  VI.    14 


new  corporation  it  transferred  its  authority,  regard 
less  of  protests,  and  of  the  December  council,  which 
sought  to  assert  itself.  The  opportunity  was  eagerly 
seized  by  disappointed  aspirants  to  air  their  elo 
quence  upon  public  rights  and  the  danger  of  anarchy, 
and  to  assist  in  conjuring  up  a  more  exalted  municipal 
power  for  the  district  in  the  form  of  a  legislative  as 
sembly  of  fifteen  members,  together  with  three  jus 
tices  of  the  peace.59  Their  election,  on  February  21st, 

preceding  week  tended  to  lower  public  interest  in  the  event,  and  a  much 
smaller  vote  was  polled  than  before.  The  AUa  CaL,  Jan.  25,  1849,  accord 
ingly  considers  it  void. 

59  The  justices  were  Myron  Norton,  T.  R.  Per  Lee,  both  officers  of  Steven 
son's  regt,  and  W.  M.  Stewart;  the  members,  T.  A.  Wright,  A.  J.  Ellis,  H. 
A.  Harrison,  G.  C.  Hubbard,  G.  Hyde,  I.  Montgomery,  VV.  M.  Smith,  A.  J. 
Grayson,  J.  Creighton,  R.  A.  Parker,  T.  J.  Roach,  W.  F.  Swasey,  T.  H. 
Green,  F.  J.  Lippett,  and  G.  F.  Lemon.  U.  S.  Gov.  Doc.,  Cong.  31,  Sess.  1, 
H.  Ex.  Doc.,  17,  730,  with  text  of  resolutions  at  the  decisive  meeting  on  Feb. 
12th,  reported  also  in  AUa  CaL,  Feb.  15,  1849.  The  plan  of  the  organization 
was  presented  by  G.  Hyde,  formerly  alcalde,  who  in  his  Stat.,  MS.,  10-12, 
points  out  that  only  a  few  of  the  members  obtained  less  than  400  out  of  the 
602  votes  cast.  Placer  Times,  May  12,  1849,  etc.  According  to  McGowan,  A. 
A.  Green  of  the  Stevenson  regt  gave  a  start  to  the  meetings  which  created 
the  legislative  assembly.  S.  F.  Post,  Nov.  23,  1878.  Ryan,  Pers.  Adv.,  ii. 
250-2,  calls  this  faction  the  democratic,  Leavenworth  heading  the  aristocratic 
land-grabbers.  The  assembly  met  on  March  5th  at  the  public  institute, 
Dwnelle's  Col.  Hist.,  106,  doc.  iv.,  although  business  began  only  on  Mar. 
12th;  Lippett  was  appointed  speaker;  J.  Code,  sergeant-at-arms;  E.  Gilbert, 
printer;  F.  Ward,  treasurer,  later  J.  S.  Owens;  J.  Hyde,  district  attorney; 
I.  H.  Ackerman,  clerk,  succeeded  by  A.  A.  Green  and  A.  Roane.  For  rules, 
acts,  and  committee  appointments,  see  S.  F.  Minutes  Legist.,  5-4:6.  Owing 
to  the  frequent  absence  of  members  and  lack  of  quorum,  their  number  was 
increased  by  ten,  elected  on  May  llth,  whereof  W.  A.  and  E.  G.  Buffum, 
A.  A.  Green,  Theo.  Smith,  C.  R.  V.  Lee,  S.  McGerry,  and  J.  M.  Huxley, 
took  their  seat  on  the  14th,  Burke  and  P.  H.  Burnett  subsequently.  The 
proportion  of  Stevenson's  soldiers  in  the  body  was  large.  For  biographies, 
see  preceding  vols.  An  early  measure  was  to  forbid  the  sale  of  lots  or  other 
city  property,  which  served  to  rally  a  host  to  the  support  of  Alcalde  Leaven- 
worth,  including  the  displaced  council  members.  Loud  charges  had  been 
made  against  the  alcalde  for  lavish  grants  of  land,  and  in  such  a  manner  as 
to  permit  its  accumulation  by  monopolists  for  speculation,  also  for  maladminis 
tration.  Hyde's  Statm.,  MS.,  13;  AUa  CaL,  Mar.  29,  1849.  This  attitude 
led  the  assembly  on  March  22d  to  decree  the  abolition  of  the  alcaldeship  and 
the  offices  depending  upon  it,  Norton,  as  the  first  justice  of  the  peace,  being 
appointed  to  fill  the  vacancy  under  the  title  of  police  magistrate,  J.  C.  Pullis 
being  shortly  after  elected  sheriff  to  assist  him.  The  appeal  of  the  assembly 
to  Gen.  Smith  for  support  proved  futile.  He  sustained  the  alcalde.  Greater 
impression  was  made  upon  Gen.  Riley,  who  at  this  time  entered  as  military 
governor.  Less  prudent  and  firm,  he  lent  his  ear  first  to  one  side  and  sus 
pended  Leavenworth  on  May  6th,  then  the  old  council  of  1848  assisted  in 
obtaining  his  reinstatement  on  June  1st;  and  notwithstanding  repeated 
resignations  he  retained  the  alcaldeship.  Correspondence  in  U.  S.  Gov.  Doc., 
as  above,  733-6,  758-60,  771;  Placer  Times,  June  2,  1844.  He  was  ineffi 
cient,  says  Hawley,  Stat.,  MS.,  9.  Even  Commodore  Jones  writes,  June  29th, 
that  he  was  very  obnoxious  to  the  people.  Unbound  Doc.,  55,  66,  228,  319-20. 


brought  to  the  front  a  very  respectable  body  of  men, 
full  of  reform  projects,  but  regarding  the  innovation 
as  unauthorized  by  still  prevailing  laws,  the  governor 
would  not  accord  them  any  active  interference  with  the 
alcalde,  who  stood  arrayed  himself  with  their  oppo 
nents,  the  land  monopolists.  And  so  the  city  continued 
to  be  afflicted  with  practically  two  governments,  which 
maintained  a  sharp  cross-fire  of  contradictory  enact 
ments  and  charges  until  June,  when  the  governor's 
proclamation  for  a  constitutional  convention,  and  for 
the  election  of  provisional  local  officers  throughout 
the  country,  caused  the  assembly  to  abandon  the  field 
to  the  alcalde.  They  retired  with  honor;  for  viewed 
by  the  light  of  subsequent  corruption,  even  their  defi 
ciencies  are  bright  with  the  lustre  of  earnest  efforts. 

One  result  of  the  political  discord  was  to  give 
opportunity  for  lawlessness.  The  riffraff  of  the  dis 
banded  regiment  of  New  York  Volunteers  had  lately 
formed  an  association  for  cooperation  in  benevolence 
and  crime,  under  the  not  inappropriate  title  of  the 
Hounds,  with  headquarters  in  a  tent  bearing  the  no 
less  dubious  appellation  of  Tammany  Hall,  after  the 

Backed  by  Burnett  the  assembly  protested  vigorously,  and  in  a  proclamation 
to  the  city  set  forth  the  illegality  of  military  interference.  Burnett's  Recoil,, 
MS.,  ii.  61-87;  AUa  Cal.,  June  14,  1849.  Acting  accordingly,  they  sent  the 
sheriff  to  forcibly  seize  the  records  in  the  alcalde's  possession.  Ryan,  Pers. 
Adv.,  ii.  252-4,  gives  a  graphic  account  of  the  pistol  flourishing  on  the  occa 
sion.  Buffums  Six  Mont/is,  117-19.  Appalled  at  such  insolence,  Riley  de 
nounced  the  legislature  as  a  usurping  body,  and  called  wildly  upon  all  good 
citizens  to  aid  in  restoring  the  records.  U.  S.  Gov.  Doc.,  ubi  sup.,  773-4. 
Simultaneously,  June  3d,  appeared  the  proclamation  for  a  convention,  and 
for  local  elections  throughout  the  country,  an  order  so  far  delayed  in  the  vain 
hope  that  congress  would  provide  a  civil  government.  This  election  pre 
tending  the  speedy  extinction  of  the  assembly,  the  members,  with  hopes  cen 
tred  in  the  next  balloting,  resolved  to  yield;  yet  not  until  after  a  deferential 
appeal  to  the  public,  which  responded  on  July  9th  by  a  vote  of  confidence  so 
meagre  as  to  be  chilling.  The  smallness  of  the  vote,  167  for  their  continu 
ance,  7  against,  was  due  to  the  departure  of  supporters  for  the  mines,  says 
Green,  Stat.,  MS.,  24;  AUaCal,  July  12,  17,  1849.  VVilley,  Pers.  Mem.,  127- 
8,  assumes  that  Riley  terrified  them.  Their  minutes  cease  on  June  4th,  the 
date  of  Riley 's  proclamation  against  them.  Green  naturally  extols  the  honesty 
of  his  associates;  he  claims  to  have  refused  a  land  bribe  from  Leavenworth 
for  himself  and  his  monopoly  friends  on  introducing  the  bill  for  abolishing  the 
alcaldeship.  Findla,  Stat.,  MS.,  9-10,  also  speaks  of  them  as  'respectable 
men.'  Prices  Sketch,  MS.,  111. 


noted  eastern  hot-bed  of  that  name.60  It  is  but  natural 
that  this  graceless  set  of  idlers  should,  through  lack  of 
manly  incentive,  drift  into  political  agitation,  and  that 
the  original  military  aim  of  their  late  regiment  should 
degenerate  into  race  antipathy  and  rioting.  Drunk 
enness  and  brawl,  displayed  in  noisy  processions  with 
drum  and  fife  and  streaming  banners,  led  to  swagger 
ing  insolence  and  intimidation,  which  found  a  seemingly 
safe  vent  against  the  Hispano- Americans.  Once  the 
robber  instinct  was  aroused  by  the  more  disreputable, 
it  was  not  long  before  a  glittering  vista  opened  a  wider 

The  unsavory  name  of  Hounds  was  changed  to 
Regulators;  and  under  pretence  of  watching  over 
public  security  and  rights,  the  vagabonds  intruded 
themselves  in  every  direction,  especially  upon  the 
exposed  and  defenceless;  and  they  boldly  demanded 
contributions  of  the  merchants  in  support  of  their 
self-assumed  mission.  Strength  of  numbers  and  arms 
and  significant  threats  increased,  until  terrorism  stalked 
undisguised.  Finally,  on  July  15,  1849,  under  inspirit 
ing  stimulants,  they  ventured  to  make  an  attack  in 
force  upon  the  Chileno  quarter,  at  the  foot  of  Tele 
graph  hill,  with  the  avowed  object  of  driving  out  the 
hated  foreigners,  and  despoiling  them.  Not  knowing 
what  next  might  follow,  the  alarmed  citzens  united  for 
action.  Four  companies  formed,  with  a  huge  special 
police  detachment,  and  the  town  was  scoured  in  pur 
suit  of  the  now  scattering  band.  A  score  were  arrested, 
and  by  the  prompt  application  of  fine  and  imprisonment 
the  rest  were  awed  into  submission.61 

The  election  of  August  1,  1849,  restored  the  ayun- 
tamiento  and  prefect  system,  while  giving  the  city  the 
increased  number  of  twelve  councilmen,62  under  the 

60  Of  New  York.     The  tent  stood  on  Kearny  st,  where  Commercial  st  now 

61  The  history  of  the  band  and  outbreak  is  fully  related  in  my  Popular 
Tribunals,  i.  76  et  seq. 

«2T.  H.  Green,  H.  A.  Harrison,  A.  J.  Ellis,  S.  C.  Harris,  T.  B.  Winston, 
J.  Townsend,  R.  M.  Price,  W.  H.  Davis,  B.  Simmons,  S.  Brannan,  W.  M. 

THE  HOUNDS.  213 

presidency  of  John  W.  Geary,  the  lately  arrived  post 
master  of  the  city,03  who  responded  to  the  unanimous 
confidence  bestowed  upon  him  by  displaying  great  zeal 
for  the  welfare  of  the  city.  Horace  Hawes,  the  pre 
fect,  was  an  able  lawyer,  but  with  a  somewhat  fiery 
temperament  that  soon  brought  about  a  conflict  with 
his  colleagues.64  Acting  upon  the  suggestions  of  their 
leader,65  the  council  issued  a  revenue  ordinance,  de- 

Stewart,  G.  B.  Post,  in  the  order  of  popularity  as  indicated  by  votes  obtained. 
Four  had  belonged  to  the  assembly,  and  two  to  the  council  which  it  super- 
ceded.  Frank  Turk,  second  alcalde,  acted  for  a  long  time  as  secretary  to  the 
new  council;  the  subprefects  for  the  districts  were  F.  Guerrerro  and  J.  R.  Cur 
tis.  Alcalde  Geary  obtained  the  entire  vote  of '1,516,  while  Prefect  Hawea 
polled  only  913.  The  three  highest  votes  for  councilmen  were  carried  by  late 
assembly  members.  There  were  nearly  a  dozen  tickets  in  the  field. 

63  Geary  was  born  in  Westmoreland  Co.,  Pa.     After  his  father's  death,  he 
taught  school,  supporting  his  mother,  and  paying  off  his  father's  indebted 
ness.     He  next  went   to  Pittsburg  and   entered   into  mercantile  pursuits, 
which  proved  uncongenial.     Meanwhile  he  studied  assiduously,  displaying  a 
marked  taste  for  mathematics,  and  became  a  civil  engineer  and  railroad  super 
intendent.    When  the  war  with  Mexico  broke  out,  he  joined  the  2d  Pa.  Vols. , 
rose  to  the  rank  of  col,  way  wounded  at  Chapultepec,  and  appointed  com 
mander  of  the  citadel  after  the  city  fell.     He  was  appointed  postmaster  of 
S.  F.  on  Jau.  22,   1849,   with  a  certain  control  over  postal  matters  on  the 
Pacific  coast.     With  his  family  he  reached  S.  F.  on  the  Oregon  on  Apr.  1st. 
His  administration  was   one  of   marked   efficiency.     Learning  that   Prest. 
Taylor  had  appointed  a  successor,  Geary  turned  the  office  over  to  Col  Bryan. 
At  this  time  he  sent  his  family  back  to  Pa. ,  and  became  a  member  of  the 
auction  and  commission  house  of  Geary,  Van  Voorhees,  and  Sutton. 

64  Biography  in  Hist.  Cal.,  iii.,  this  series. 

65  Geary  in  his  inaugural  address  pointed  out  the  lack  of  public  buildings, 
and  funds  and  measures  for  security,  and  recommended  a  tax,  not  alone  on 
real  estate  and  auction  sales,  but  on  licenses  for  traders,  in  proportion  to 
the  goods  vended,  for  conveyances  by  land  and  water,  and  for  gambling; 
the  latter  as  an  inevitable  evil  being  thus  placed  under  salutary  control.     An 
inventory  should  be  made  of  public  documents  and  mutilations  noted.    Records 
were  subsequently  sought  at  Monterey.     Hawes  dwelt  upon  the  necessity 
for  measures  conducive  to  prospective  greatness  of  the  city  without  making 
any  special  suggestions.    S.  F.  Minutes,   1849,  221-4;  Annals  S.  F.,  230-1. 
He  took  the  oath  on  Aug.  1 1th.    The  council  met,  from  Aug.  6th,  on  an  average 
twice  a  week.     Their  proceedings,  with  committee  distributions,  etc.,  are  re 
corded  in  S.  F.  Minutes,  1849,  47  et  seq.     The  attendance  fell  off  to  such  a 
degree  that  the  quorum  had  to  be  reduced  to  four  by  the  close  of  the  year. 
Rules  for  their  guidance  in  general  were  sent  in  by  the  governor.   U.  S.  Gov. 
Doc..,  Cong.  31,  Sess.  1,  H.  Ex.  Doc.,  17,  775-6.     Among  appointed  officials 
were  J.  Code,  sergeant-at-arms,  W.  M.  Eddy,  surveyor,  P.  C.  Lander,  col 
lector,  A.  C.  Peachy,  attorney,  S.  C.  Simmons,  controller,  Ben.  Burgoyne, 
treasurer,  succeeded  in  Dec.  by  G.  Meredith;  P.  C.   Lander,  tax  collector, 
J.  R.  Palmer,  physician,  subsequently  Stivers  and  Thorp,  S.  R.  Gerry  became 
health  officer  in  Dec.,  J.  E.  Townes,  sheriff,  in  Dec.  appointed  coroner.     N.  R. 
Davis,  street  commissioner,  subsequently  J.  J.  Arentrue,  in  Dec. ,  J.  Gallagher, 
inspector  of  liquors.     Turk,  second  alcalde  and  acting  secretary,  took  a  seat 
in  the  council  and  was  in  Dec.  replaced  as  secretary  by  H.  L.  Dodge.     F.  D. 
Kohler  has  been   mentioned  as  chief  fire-engineer.     Under  the  prefecture 
were  appointed  P.  A.  Brinsmade,  subprefect,  in  Dec.,  vice  Curtis,  F.  P. 


pending  chiefly  on  the  sale  of  real  estate  and  mer 
chandise,  and  on  licenses  for  trading,66  the  latter  of  a 
hasty  and  disproportionate  nature.  Not  deeming  this 
sufficient  to  cover  their  teeming  plans,  notably  for  city 
hall,  hospital,  and  public  wharves,  they  prepared  for 
a  large  sale  of  water  lots,  which  were  coming  into 
eager  demand.  The  first  available  money  was  applied 
to  the  purchase  of  a  prison  brig67  and  shackles  for 
chain-gangs;  the  police  force  was  placed  on  a  regular 
and  more  efficient  footing;68  fire-engines  were  ordered  ; 
and  strenuous  efforts  made  to  improve  the  streets,  so 
as  to  prevent  a  repetition  of  the  previous  winter's  mis 
haps,69  yet  the  following  season  proved  comparatively 

Tracy,  justice  of  the  peace  at  the  mission,  W.  B.  Almond,  judge  of  first  in 
stance  with  civil  jurisdiction  only,  Hall  McAllister,  attorney,  pay  $2,000, 
both  from  Oct.  1st,  F.  Billings,  commissioner  of  deeds,  A.  H.  Flint,  surveyor; 
also  a  host  of  notaries  public.  See  Id.,  756-840,  passim;  Unbound  Doc.,  224, 
323-9.  etc.;  Brown's  Stat.,  MS.,  16;  Merrill's  Stat.,  MS.,  5-6;  Arch.  Mont., 
xiv.  18;  Gal.  Miscel.,  ix.  pt.  i.  77;  Alta  Cal,  Pac.  News,  Dec.  13,  1849,  etc.; 
Gillette's  Vig.,  MS.,  6;  Hyde's  Stat.,  MS.,  12;  Miscel.,  MS.,  3. 

66  On  Aug.  27th.  The  prefect  presumed  to  veto  this  ordinance,  on  the  ground 
of  the  disproportionate  nature  of  the  imposts  which  pressed  excessively  upon 
labor  and  on  men  with  limited  means,  a  dealer  with  a  capital  of  $150,000, 
for  instance,  paying  $400  only,  while  a  small  trader  with  $1,000  was  required 
to  pay  $300.  He  also  considered  the  revenue  called  for  in  excess  of  require 
ment,  and  demanded  details  for  expenditure,  which  should  be  proportioned 
to  the  measures  most  needed,  especially  protection.  The  ordinance  was  also 
contrary  to  law  in  defining  new  misdemeanors  and  extending  the  jurisdiction 
of  the  alcalde.  S.  F.  Minutes,  1849,  224-7.  The  ardor  of  this  champion  of  the 
oppressed  was  somewhat  damped  by  the  reminder  that  the  veto  power  be 
longed  to  the  governor,  to  whom  he  might  report  any  objections  against  the 
council.  The  governor  offered  $10,000  toward  the  formation  of  a  jail  and 

G1  Euphemia,  anchored  near  the  corner  of  Jackson  and  Battery  sts.  A 
calaboose  existed,  but  so  poor  and  insufficient  as  to  induce  the  former  assem 
bly  to  rent  a  room  for  a  jail.  S.  F.  Minutes,  1849,  10,  40,  142.  The  brig  was 
soon  overcrowded.  Alta  Cal.,  Aug.  4,  1850;  Cal.  Courier,  July  16,  1850.  A 
regular  allowance  was  made  for  the  chain-gang  overseer,  whose  task  promoted 
much  public  work.  A  regular  jail  was  erected  on  Broadway  in  1851.  Id.y 
Sept.  30,  1851. 

68  Under  the  direction  of  Malachi  Fallon,  as  captain,  chosen  Aug.  13th, 
assisted  by  Major  Beck  and  by  a  force  which  from  30  men  increased  to  50  by 
Feb.  1850,  and  by  the  following  year  to  75.  The  pay  had  also  risen  from  $6 
to  $8  a  day,  with  $2  extra  for  the  5  captains.  It  was  then  proposed  to  reduce 
the  force  to  46  men  and  4  captains  at  $150  and  $200  a  month,  fb.  Gold  and 
silver  badges  were  ordered  for  the  first  chief  and  his  men;  a  station  was  as 
signed  to  each  of  the  4  wards.  See  S.  F.  Minutes,  1849,  52-3,  79,  90-1,  102, 
131,  167;  8.  F.  Herald,  July  12,  1850;  Schenck's  Vig.,  MS.,  22.  Fallon  was 
chosen  city  marshal  by  the  democrats  in  1850.  S.  F,  Times,  Jan.  12,  1867. 
Fallon  had  served  in  the  New  York  force.  Fifty-eight  names  on  his  force  in 
S.  F.  Directory,  1850,  123^. 

69A  street  commissioner  received  $500  a  month,  and  a  superintendent  of 
public  repairs  $600.  Teams  were  bought  by  the  city  for  clearing  streets. 


dry  Several  sums  were  assigned  for  starting  wharves 
on  Market,  California,  and  Pacific  streets,  which  in 
course  of  two  years  absorbed  over  $300, OOO.70  The 
proposed  hospital  dwindled  to  a  contract  with  Peter 
Smith,  which  proved  a  costly  bargain  for  the  city,71  and 
to  allowances  to  the  state  marine  hospital  and  subse 
quently  to  a  brig  for  housing  insane  people. 

So  far  the  plans  of  the  city-builders  had  not  brought 
forth  any  public  work  of  a  striking  character,  save  in 
street  improvements;  but  this  shortcoming  redounds 
to  their  credit,  for  at  the  close  of  the  year  they  left  a 
surplus  in  the  treasury.72  Far  different  was  the  record 
of  the  following  councils.  By  the  election  of  January 
8,  1850,  Alcalde  Geary  and  half  of  his  colleagues  were 
confirmed  in  position  by  more  than  double  the  preced 
ing  vote.  The  rest  were  new  men,73  who  assisted,  not 
alone  in  laying  the  foundation  for  a  fast-growing  debt, 
but  in  reducing  the  resources  of  the  city  by  hurried 

Although  citizens  paid  two  thirds  of  the  cost  of  grading  and  planking  from 
their  own  pockets,  as  the  grand  jury  points  out,  S.  F.  Herald,  Sept.  30, 
1851,  yet  large  sums  were  continually  appropriated  by  the  authorities  to  this 
end,  $100,000,  on  Jan.  1850,  alone.  S.  F.  Minutes,  1849-50,  124;  William* 
Stat.,  MS.,  13.  The  comptroller  shows  an  expenditure  for  streets  and  land 
ings,  exclusive  of  wharves,  from  Aug.  1849  to  Feb.  1851,  of  $471,282.  Ati,i 
Cal.,  Apr.  27,  1851. 

70  Ib.    $400,000  was  appropriated  for  these  wharves,  Jan.  7,  18,  1850,  al 
though  evidently  not  all  paid  over.  Id.,  112-14,  123-4. 

7 1  The  plans  proposed  in  the  council  included  a  building  with  a  city  hall. 
The  Waverly  house  was  subsequently  bought  for  $20.000,  but  destroyed  by 
fire.     In  Jan.  1850  the  hospital  bill  amounted  to  $6,600,  in  April  Smith  de 
manded  $13,000.     This  hospital  was  burned  in  Sept.  1850.     Up  to  May  1851, 
over  $200,026  had  been  expended  for  hospital  purposes.  A  ltd  Cal.,  Apr.  27, 
1851.     To  the  state  marine  hospital,  provided  for  in  1850  and  opened  in  Dec., 
Pac.  News,  Dec.  27,  1850,  Cal  Statutes,  1850,  164,  343,  was  assigned  $30,000, 
while  its  expenses  were  $70,000,  for  97  city  and  17  state  patients.     In  1851  a 
contract  was  concluded  for  the  care  of  the  city  at  $2,500  a  month.     An  in 
sufficient  allowance  was  then  made  to  the  brig  at  North  Beach  for  the  recep 
tion  of  the  insane.     In  1850  pauper  burials  were  arranged  for  at  $35  each. 
&.  F.  Minutes,  1849-50,  68,  79-82,  98,  129-30,  138,  200;  S.  F.  Herald,  Sept. 
30,  1851.     Smith's  claims  will  be  treated  of  later. 

72  Of  $40,000,  and  110  bad  blot  upon  their  public  character. 

73  Geary  received  the  largest  vote,  being  3,425.    Turk  figures  again  as  second 
alcalde.     Green,  Brannan,  Ellis,  Stewart,  Davis,  were  the  reelected  council- 
men.     J.  S.  Graham,  F.  Tilford,  M.  Crooks,  A.   M.   Van  Nostrand,  H.  C. 
Murray,  F.  C.  Gray,  and  J.  Hagan  completed  the  number.     They  met  Jan. 
1  Ith  and  formed  into  committees.     Dodge  was  retained  as  clerk.     A.   A. 
Selover  was  chosen  city  auctioneer.  S.  F.  Minutes,    1850,   115  et  seq. ;   Pac. 
News,  Feb.  1850,  etc.     Despite  the  rain  the  election  was  exciting,  though 
orderly.   Upliams  Notes,  268-71. 


sales  of  lots,  wherein  they  were  charged  with  secret 
participation  to  their  own  advantage.74  The  tirade 
begun  against  them  by  Prefect  Hawes  was  cut  short 
by  the  election  on  May  1st  of  new  city  officials,  under 
the  charter  framed  in  February.  By  this  the  Span 
ish  form  of  government  was  replaced  by  the  Ameri 
can  one  of  a  common  council  with  two  boards  of 
aldermen,  each  of  eight  members,  under  a  mayor.75 
The  county  was  also  organized  by  an  election  on 

74After  a  sale  of  water  Iot3  in  Jan.  1850  yielding  $635,000,  another  sale 
was  announced  for  March.  Prefect  Hawes,  who  had  been  putting  some  very 
nettling  questions  to  the  ayuntamiento  concerning  disbursements  and  men 
voting  for  them,  sounded  the  alarm  and  induced  the  governor  to  issue  a  pro 
hibit.  This  the  councilmen  resolved  to  disregard,  whereupon  Hawes  charged 
them  with  intended  spoliation,  and  pointed  out  that  some  were  suspiciously 
preparing  to  leave  the  country.  The  prohibit  was  affirmed  with  the  threat  to 
file  a  bill  in  chancery  against  the  ayuntamiento,  which  now  yielded  in  so  far 
as  to  postpone  the  sale  until  April.  *The  enemy  have  fled,'  cries  Attor 
ney-general  Ke  wen;  '  they  have  exposed  the  character  of  the  beast  that  pa 
raded  so  ostentatiously  in  the  lion's  skin.'  Correspondence  in  #.  F.  Minutes, 
1850,  230-7.  But  they  were  merely  gaining  time  to  persuade  the  governor  to 
repeal  the  prohibit  by  exhibiting  their  accounts  and  estimates,  and  showing 
the  need  of  money  for  city  improvements.  This  achieved,  they  retaliated 
upon  the  obnoxious  prefect,  by  charging  him  with  appropriation  of  funds, 
notably  $2,500  for  alleged  services  rendered  against  the  Hounds,  and  with  per 
mitting  Justice  Colton  to  sell  district  and  city  lands  chiefly  for  Hawes'  own 
advantage.  The  result  was  a  boomerang  in  the  shape  of  an  order  suspending 
the  prefect.  Emphatic  denials  being  of  no  avail,  his  wrath  now  concentrated 
against  the  governor  in  a  series  of  charges  before  the  legislature,  for  violating 
the  laws  and  suspiciously  conniving  with  the  corrupt  council.  In  this  he  was 
supported  by  the  subprefect,  Brinsmade,  appointed  to  replace  him.  Pac. 
Ne^vs,  Jan.  1,  1850,  et  seq. 

75As  passed  by  the  legislature  on  Apr.  15,  1850,  the  charter  in  4  arts,  and 
45  IT,  assigns  as  boundaries  to  the  city  of  San  Francisco,  on  the  south,  a  line 
parallel  to  Clay  st  two  miles  from  Portsmouth  square;  on  the  west,  a  line  par 
allel  to  Kearny  st  one  and  a  half  miles  from  the  square;  on  the  north  and  east, 
the  county  limits.  The  government  is  vested  in  a  mayor,  recorder,  and  a  com 
mon  council  of  a  board  composed  of  aldermen  and  a  board  of  assistant  aldermen, 
each  board  to  consist  of  one  member  from  each  of  the  eight  wards,  to  be  desig 
nated  by  the  council.  There  shall  also  be  elected  a  treasurer,  comptroller,  street 
commissioner,  collector  of  taxes,  marshal,  city  attorney,  and  by  each  ward  two 
assessors.  Voters  and  candidates  must  show  a  residence  in  the  city  and  wards 
concerned  of  30  days  preceding  the  general  city  election,  which  is  to  be  held  on 
the  fourth  Monday  of  April  in  each  year.  For  duties,  bonds,  etc.,  see  Col. 
Statutes,  1850,  223-9;  and  compare  with  the  briefer  draft  by  the  framers,  in 
8.  F.  Minutes,  1850,  144-9.  In  Oct.  1848  the  city  council  had  assigned  for 
city  limits  a  line  along  Guadalupe  creek  to  the  ocean.  Califot-nian,  Oct.  14, 
1848;  and  see  my  Hist.  Cal.,  v.,  this  series.  Regulations  for  the  council  in  S. 
F.  Manual,  p.  ix.-xvi.  This  charter  did  not  last  long.  The  boundary  of  the 
county,  as  defined  in  Cal.  Laws,  1850,  829,  ran  along  San  Francisquito  creek 
westward  into  the  ocean,  three  miles  out,  and  in  the  bay  to  within  three 
miles  of  high-water  mark  in  Contra  Costa  county,  including  the  entire  penin 
sula,  and  Alcatraz  and  Yerba  Buena  or  Goat  islands,  as  well  as  the  Fara- 
llones.  See  also  Cal.  Jour.  Sen.,  1850,  1307;  Id.,  House,  1344. 


April  1st  of  sheriff,  county  clerk,  and  nine  other  offi 
cials,  at  San  Francisco,  so  that  the  city  became  the 
seat  of  two  governments.76  The  contest  for  the  shriev 
alty  was  one  of  the  most  exciting  on  record,  with 
lavish  generosity  on  one  side,  and  enthusiastic  display  of 
bands  and  banners  on  the  other;  but  the  fame  of  John 
C.  Hays  as  a  Texan  ranger,  and  his  opportune  exhibi 
tions  of  dash  and  horsemanship,  captured  the  popu 

The  new  city  government  headed  once  more  by 
Geary  as  mayor,78  with  almost  entirely  new  associates, 
met  on  May  9th,  inaugurating  at  the  same  time  the 
new  city  hall,  lately  the  Graham  house,  a  four-sfcory 
wooden  edifice  lined  on  two  sides  by  continuous  bal 
conies.79  The  leading  trait  of  these  men  was  quickly 

76  The  chosen  ones  were  John  C.  Hays,  sheriff,  R.  N.  Morrison,  county 
judge,  J.  A.   McGlynn,  recorder,  W.  M.   Eddy,  surveyor,  J.  \V.  Endicott, 
treas.,  D.  M.  Chauncey,  assessor,  E.  Gallagher,  coroner,  T.  J.  Smith,  co.  att'y, 
C.  Benham,  dist  att'y,  J.  E.  Addison,  co.  clerk,  E.  H.  Tharp,  clerk  of  the 
sup.  ct. 

77  He  was  selected  by  the  people  as  an  independent  candidate.     His  career 
is  given  in  Hist.  North  Mex.  Statesand  Texas,  ii.,  this  series.     His  opponents 
were  J.  Townes,  a  whig  who  was  appointed  to  the  post  in  1849,  and  J.  J. 
Bryant,  democratic  nominee,  and  a  man  of  wealth,  owner  of  Bryant's  hotel. 
The  latter  was  the  only  real  rival.  Pioneer  Arch.,  29-31. 

78  His  associates  were  F.  Tilf ord,  recorder,  T.  H.  Holt,  att'y,  C.  G.  Scott, 
treas.,  B.  L.  Berry,  comptroller,  W.  M.  Irwin,  collector,  D.  McCarthy,  street 
com.,   M.  Fallon,  marshal.     The  aldermen  were  Wm  Green,   president,  C. 
Minturn,  F.  W.  Macondray,  D.  Gillespie,  A.  A.  Selover,  W.  M.  Burgoyne, 
C.  W.  Stuart,  M.  L.   Mott;  assistant  aldermen,  A.  Bartol,  president,  C.  T. 
Botts,  W.   Sharron,  J.  Maynard,  J.  P.  Van  Ness,  L.   T.  Wilson,  A.  Morris, 
W.  Corbett.   Aldermen  Burgoyne  and  Macondray  not  taking  their  seat  were  re 
placed  by  M.  G.  Leonard  and  J.  Middleton,  and  assistant  aldermen  Botts  and 
Maynard,  by  G.  W.  Green  and  J.  Grant.     For  assessors,  clerks,  court  officials, 
police,  pilots,  men  under  J.  Hagen,  harbor-master,  etc.,  see  S.  F.  Directory, 
1850,  122-9;  S.  F.  Annah,  272-3;  Alta  Cat.  and  Pac.  News,  Apr.  26-May  21, 
1850,  with  comments.     On  ward  division,  Id.,  Dec.   14,   1850;  S.  F.  Herald, 
June  6,  1850,  etc.;  S.  F.  Municipal  Repts,  1859,   177-9;  8.  F.  Picayune,  Oct. 
5,  8,  Nov.  2,  1850;  Cal  Courier,  Aug.  12,  1850.     T.  Green  claims  to  have  ab 
stained  from  contesting  the  mayoralty  out  of  sympathy  for  Geary. 

79  It  stood  on  the  north-west  corner  of  Kearny  and  Pacific  sts,  fronting  100 
fset  on  Kearny  st,  with  a  depth  of  64  feet.     The  commodious  yard  contained 
two  wells  and  several  outhouses.     The  roof  was  metallic.     This  was  offered 
by  Graham,  member  of  the  council  in  April  1850,  to  his  associates  and  bought 
by  them  on  Apr.  1st,  for  $150,000,  less  $50,000  in  exchange  for  the  lately  pur 
chased  town  hall  on  Stockton  st.     Tired  of  drifting  between  the  narrow  con 
fines  of  the  public  institute  and  the  old  adobe  custom-house  on  the  west  side  of 
the  plaza,  the  preceding  council  had  bought  the  American  hotel  on  Stockton  st, 
near  Broadway,  evidently  to  promote  the  lot  speculations  of  certain  members. 
Thither  the  council  removed  on  the  18th  of  March,  but  the  order  for  other 
officials  to  follow  the  example  was  vigorously  objected  to,  on  the  ground  that 


manifested  in  their  greed  for  spoils,  to  which  end  a 
heavier  schedule  of  taxes  was  projected,  with  a  corre 
spondingly  increased  number  of  drainage  holes,  more 
or  less  cunningly  concealed.  Not  content  with  the 
reward  that  must  imperceptibly  flow  into  their  pockets 
from  this  effort,  they  hastened  to  anticipate  a  portion 
by  voting  a  salary  of  $6,000  to  each  alderman  of  the 
two  boards,  after  assigning  a  propitiatory  $10,000  to 
the  mayor  and  some  of  his  chief  aids.  Geary  refused 
to  participate  in  the  scheme;  and  encouraged  by  his 
attitude,  the  public  loudly  protested  against  such 
brazen  spoliation  of  an  already  burdened  city.  The 
council  thereupon  dropped  its  demands80  to  $4,000 
which  would  have  given  them,  had  not  the  measure 
been  vetoed,  about  a  hundred  dollars  for  each  of  the 
evenings  devoted  by  the  average  member  to  the  com 
mon  weal.  They  sought  solace,  however,  for  their 
lacerated  feelings,  by  voting  themselves  gold  medals 
of  sufficient  size  to  impress  an  ungrateful  public  with 
the  arduous  services  thereby  commemorated.81 

With  such  and  other  glaring  diversions  of  public 
funds  it  can  readily  be  conceived  what  the  secret  pil- 

the  hall  was  too  remote  from  business  centres.  Nor  did  the  offer  to  rent  offices 
therein  find  favor.  And  so  the  present  purchase  was  made;  a  bargain  it  was 
loudly  claimed,  for  the  two  upper  stories,  with  36  rooms,  besides  others  on  the 
second  floor,  could  be  rented  for  perhaps  $62,400,  while  the  saving  in  rents 
by  the  scattered  public  offices,  stations,  and  courts  would  amount  to  $70,000. 
To  build  a  hall  according  to  the  adopted  plan  would  cost  $300,000,  and  require 
perhaps  a  year's  delay,  neither  of  which  the  city  could  afford.  Report  in 
S.  F.  Minutes,  1850,  191^1.  Descriptions  in  8.  F.  Herald,  Feb.  19,  1851;  Pac. 
News,  May  17,  1850,  etc.  The  report  maybe  taken  with  due  allowance,  how 
ever,  for  changes  and  repairs  increased  the  cost  of  the  building.  Unlxmnd  Doc. , 
58.  On  July  4,  1850,  the  plaza  was  adorned  with  a  faultless  new  liberty  pole, 
120  feet  long,  presented  by  Portland  city.  8.  F.  Herald,  July  4,  1850.  The 
old  pole  was  burned  with  the  custom-house,  corner  of  Montgomery  and  Cali 
fornia  sts,  in  May  1851.  8.  F.  Annals,  282. 

80  Several  public  meetings  were  held,  and  a  first  committee  of  25  being 
ignored,  another  of  500  was  chosen  to  impress  the  aldermen.  S.  F.  Herald, 
June  12,  1856,  etc. ;  Pac.  News,  May  3,  1850,  etc.  Just  then  came  a  large  fire 

to  divert  attention,  and  subsequent  demonstrations  uroved  less  imposing. 
The  mayor  vetoed  the  $4,000,  on  the  ground  that  it  would  also  injure  the 
credit  of  the  city.  A  Ita  CaL,  May  27,  1850,  etc.  The  charter  of  1851  allowed 

81  Even  here  a  prying  curiosity,  coupled  with  impertinent  sarcasm,  so  far 
disturbed  the  composure  of  the  aldermen  that  they  cast  the  medals  into  the 
melting-pot,  as  the  nearest  pit  of  oblivion,  although  too  late.  The  S.  F.  An 
nals,  306,  understands  that  the  scheme  was  mainly  due  to  a  sub-committee. 
Cal  Courier,  Dec.  14,  21,  1850. 


fering  and  rifling  must  have  been,  when  it  is  shown 
that  the  expenditure  for  the  nineteen  months  following 
August  1,  1849,  amounted  to  more  than  two  million 
dollars,  of  which  more  than  one  fourth  was  during  the 
last  three  months.82  This  absorbed  not  only  a  liberal 
tax  levy,  and  the  larger  and  choicer  proportion  of  public 
lands,83  but  compelled  the  issue  of  scrip  at  an  interest 
of  thirty-six  per  cent.84  Issued  one  after  the  other, 
without  prospect  of  speedy  payment,  this  paper  depre 
ciated  sixty  per  cent  and  more,  till  contractors  and  pur 
veyors  were  obliged  in  self-protection  to  charge  twice 
and  thrice  the  amounts  due  them.  Unscrupulous 
officials  and  speculators,  moreover,  seized  the  oppor 
tunity  to  make  fortunes  by  purchasing  the  scrip  at 
low  rates,  and  paying  it  into  the  treasury  at  par  in 
lieu  of  the  coin  obtained  for  taxes.  Thus  a  debt  of 
more  than  a  million  rolled  up  within  the  year  ending 
February  1851,  and  grew  so  rapidly,  while  city  prop 
erty  and  credit  so  declined,  that  the  legislature  had  to 
come  to  the  rescue  with  restrictive  enactments.85 

82  Among   the   items   figured   $41,905   for  printing;    surveying  absorbed 
another  big  sum;  the  city  hall  purchase,  with  repairs,  etc.,  absorbed  about 

83  The  sale  of  Jan.  3,  1850,  of  water  lots  yielded  $635,130,  and  in  April 
followed  another  big  sale. 

8*  Three  per  cent  monthly,  which  was  by  no  means  exorbitant  at  the 

85  As  will  be  seen  later.  The  first  deficit  of  $24,000  appeared  in  the  Jan.- 
Feb.  1850  account.  On  Aug.  31st  the  debt  was  $282,306.  S.  F.  Picayune, 
Sept.  5,  1850;  S.  F.  Directory,  1852,  14.  On  March  1,  1851,  it  had  risen  to 
$1,099.557.56.  S.  F.  AUa  Cal,  Apr.  27,  1851.  Soon  after  the  debt  was 
funded  for  $1,300,000.  The  expenditures  from  Aug.  1,  1849,  to  Jan.  28, 
1851,  amounted  to  $2,012,740.10;  on  the  streets,  wharves,  and  landings,  there 
were  expended  $826,395.56;  on  hospitals,  cemeteries,  and  board  of  health, 
$231,358.86;  on  police  and  prisons,  $208,956.87;  on  fire  dept,  $108,337.85;  on 
courts,  $236,892.12;  and  the  balance  of  over  $400,000  on  salaries,  rents,  print 
ing,  etc.  During  the  quarter  ending  Feb.  28,  1851,  the  receipts  and  expen 
ditures  were:  Received  from  licenses,  $25,744.55;  from  hospital  fund,  $301; 
from  courts,  $2,734.50;  wharf  dues,  333.95;  sale  of  beach  and  water  lots, 
$5,230.65;  and  from  street  assessments,  $103,355.40.  On  the  other  hand, 
the  fire  and  water  department  caused  an  expenditure  of  $7,945. 10;  the  streets, 
including  surveys,  $223,482.28;  the  prison,  courts,  and  police,  $20,464.19; 
hospital,  including  cholera  expenses,  $41,036.11;  wharves,  $39,350.59;  and 
the  salaries,  legal  expenses,  printing,  and  other  contingent  items,  nearly 
$80,000.  S.  F.  AUa,  Apr.  27,  1851.  The  grand  jury  of  Sept.  1851  com 
mented  in  scathing  terms  upon  the  *  shameful  squandering '  by  parties  whom 
they  were  unable  to  designate.  By  that  time  nearly  all  the  city  property  had 
been  disposed  of,  valued  at  three  or  four  million,  yet  this,  added  to  revenue 
and  loans,  had  failed  to  leave  the  city  any  commensurate  benefit.  Sacra- 


mento,  without  landed  resources,  had  received  proportionately  larger  bene 
fits,  by  incurring  a  debt  of  less  than  half  a  million.  Benicia's  scrip  was 
nearly  at  par.  The  main  exhibit  by  S.  F.  was  in  grading  and  planking,  two 
thirds  of  which  cost  had  been  contributed  by  the  property  owners.  Similar 
was  the  showing  for  the  county,  which  had  expended  $455,807  for  the  year 
ending  June  1851,  while  the  receipts  were  only  $69,305.  Most  of  the  sums 
allowed  were  pointed  out  as  suspicious.  See  report  in  S.  F.  Herald,  Sept. 
30,  1851;  Aug.  5,  22,  30,  1850;  Aug.  29,  1851;  Cal  Courier,  Id.,  and  Oct. 
26,  Dec.  6,  1850;  Cal.  Polit.  Scraps,  123;  Richardsons  Mining  Exp.,  MS.,  30; 
A Ita  Cal.,  Apr.  27,  1851,  etc.;  S.  F.  Picayune,  Aug.  3-5,  Sept.  5,  1850.  The 
assessed  value  of  property  for  1851  was  $17,000,000,  and  the  estimated  rev 
enue  $550,000,  $400,000  being  from  licenses.  This  was  declared  amply  suffi 
cient  for  expenses,  now  reduced  by  $410,000,  of  which  $290,000  was  for  sala 
ries  of  municipal  officers  and  police.  Reprehensible  as  the  mismanagement 
was,  these  aldermen  were  not  worse  than  many  of  their  accusers,  nor  half  so 
bad  as  some  later  councilmen,  who  ranked  us  permanent  citizens  and  esteemed 
members  of  the  community;  for  the  former  were  comparative  strangers, 
afflicted  by  the  prevailing  mania  for  speedy  enrichment,  and  with  no  inten 
tion  of  remaining  in  California.  Geary's  demeanor  is  not  wholly  spotless. 
His  unassuming  manners  and  ability,  and  his  veto  on  many  obnoxious  meas 
ures,  gave  an  eclat  to  his  official  career,  which  served  greatly  to  gloss  over 
several  questionable  features,  such  as  amassing  some  $200,000  in  less  than 
three  years,  not  derived  from  trade;  illegally  buying  city  lots;  countenanc 
ing  the  purchase  of  the  useless  city  hall  on  Stockton  st;  and  other  doubtful 
transactions  connected  with  the  disposal  of  city  property  and  money.  He 
returned  to  Pa  in  Feb.  1852,  served  with  distinction  in  the  civil  war,  and 
became  gov.  of  his  native  state.  His  portrait  is  given  in  Ann.  S.  F.,  725. 




SOCIETY  during  the  flush  times  of  California  pre 
sents  several  remarkable  features  besides  the  Baby 
lonian  confusion  of  tongues,  and  the  medley  of  races 
and  nationalities.  It  was  a  gathering  without  parallel 
in  history,  for  modern  means  of  communication  alone 
made  it  possible.  The  inflowing  argonauts  of  1849 
found  San  Francisco  not  only  a  tented  city,  like 
the  rest  of  the  interior  towns  and  camps,  but  a  com 
munity  of  men.  The  census  of  1850  places  the  female 
population,  by  that  time  fast  increasing,  at  less  than 
eight  per  cent  of  the  total  inhabitants  of  the  country, 
while  in  mining  counties  the  proportion  fell  below  two 
per  cent.1 

1  Calaveras  shows  only  267  women  in  a  total  of  16,884;  Yuba,  221  in  a 
total  of  9,673;  Mariposa,  108  in  4,379,  yet  here  only  80  were  white  women; 
Sacramento,  615  in  9,087.  In  the  southern  counties,  chiefly  occupied  by 
Mexicans,  the  proportion  approaches  the  normal,  Los  Angeles  having  1,519 
women  in  a  total  of  3,530.  U.  S.  Census,  1850,  969  et  seq.  The  proportion  in 
1849  may  be  judged  from  the  overland  migration  figures,  which  still  in  1850 
allows  a  percentage  of  only  two  for  women,  with  a  slightly  larger  fraction  for 
children.  Sac.  Transcript,  Sept.  30,  1850;  S.  F.  Picayune,  Sept.  6,  1850. 
Many  writers  on  this  period  fall  into  the  usual  spirit  of  exaggeration  by  re 
ducing  the  females  even  more.  Burnett,  Kec.,  MS.,  ii.  35-7,  for  instance, 


222  SOCIETY. 

It  was,  moreover,  a  community  of  young  men. 
There  was  scarcely  a  gray  head  to  be  seen.2  From 
these  conditions  of  race,  sex,  and  age,  exposed  to 
strange  environment,  result  phases  of  life  and  char 
acter  which  stamp  the  golden  era  of  California  as 

Of  nationalities  the  flow  from  Europe  alone  equalled 
in  variety  that  of  the  mediaeval  crusades,  with  notable 
prominence  to  the  leading  types,  the  self-complacent 
Briton,  the  methodic  and  reflective  German,  and  the 
versatile  Gaul.  The  other  continents  contributed  to 
swell  the  list.  Africa  was  represented,  besides  the 
orthodox  negro,  by  swarthy  Moors  and  straight-fea 
tured  Abyssinians.  Asia  and  Australasia  provided 
their  quota  in  pig-tailed,  blue-garbed  Mongols,  with 
their  squat,  bow-legged  cousins  of  Nipon,  lithe  and 
diminutive  Malays,  dark-skinned  Hindoos  enwrapped 
in  oriental  dreaminess,  the  well-formed  Maoris  and 
Kanakas,  the  stately  turbaned  Ottomans,  and  the  ubi 
quitous  Hebrews,  ever  to  be  found  in  the  wake  of 
movements  offering  trade  profits.3  The  American 
element  preponderated,  however,  the  men  of  the 
United  States,  side  by  side  with  the  urbane  and  pic 
turesque  Hispano- Americans,  and  the  half-naked 
aborigines.  The  Yankee  fancied  himself  over  all, 
with  his  political  and  commercial  supremacy,  being 
full  of  great  projects  and  happy  devices  for  surmount 
ing  obstacles,  even  to  the  achieving  of  the  seemingly 
impossible;4  and  fitted  no  less  by  indomitable  energy, 

assumes  only  15  per  mille  for  San  Francisco,  which  naturally  had  a  larger 
proportion  of  women  than  the  mining  camps. 

^Calaveras  exhibits  in  its  total  of  16,884  only  69  persons  over  60  years; 
Yuba  only  21  in  its  total  of  9,673.  Ib. 

3  Helper,  Land  of  Gold,  53-4,  states  that  the  *  general  dislike  to  their  race 
induced  many  to  trade  under  assumed  names. '     See  also  McDaniels1  Early 
Days,  MS.,  4. 

4  Their  selfishness,  tempered  by  sagacious  self-control,  is  generally  of  that 
broad  class  which  best  promotes  the  general  weal.     They  readily  combine  for 
great  undertakings,  with  due  subordination,  yet  without  fettering  individual 
ity,  as  manifested  in  the  political  movements  for  which  they  have  been  fitted 
from  childhood   by  participation  in   local   and  general   affairs.     Lambertie 
extols  the  audacious  enterprise  'qui  confond  un  Francais, '  and  the  courageous 
energy  which  yields  to  no  reverses.    Voy.,  209-10.     Auger,   Voy.,  105-6,  also 
admires  the  power  to  organize.     See  Culi/oniM  Inter  Pocula,  this  series. 


shrewdness,  and  adaptability  than  by  political  and 
numerical  rights  to  assume  the  mastery,5  and  so  lift 
into  a  progressive  state  a  virgin  field  which  under 
English  domination  might  have  sunk  into  a  stagnant 
conservative  colony,  or  remained  under  Mexican  sway 
an  outpost  ever  smouldering  with  revolution. 

As  compared  with  this  foremost  of  Teutonic  peo 
ples,  the  French,  as  the  Latin  representatives,  appeared 
to  less  advantage  in  the  arts  needful  for  building  up  a 
commonwealth.  Depth  of  resource,  practical  sense, 
and  force  of  character  could  not  be  replaced  by  effer 
vescing  brilliancy  and  unsustained  dash.  They  show 
here  rather  in  subordinate  efforts  conducive  to  creature 
comforts,6  while  Spanish- Americans  were  conspicuous 
from  their  well-known  lack  of  sustained  energy.7 

The  clannish  tendencies  of  the  Latin  peoples,  due 
partly  to  the  overbearing  conduct  of  the  Anglo-Sax 
ons,  proved  not  alone  an  obstacle  to  the  adoption  of 
superior  methods  and  habits,  but  fostered  prejudices 
on  both  sides.  This  feeling  developed  into  open  hos 
tility8  on  the  part  of  a  thoughtless  and  less  respect 
able  portion  of  the  northern  element,  whose  jealousy 
was  roused  by  the  success  achieved  by  the  quicker 
eye  and  experience  of  the  Spanish-American  miners. 
The  Chinese  did  not  become  numerous  enough  until 
1851  to  awaken  the  enmity  which  in  their  case  was 
based  on  still  wider  grounds.9 

6  Among  the  less  desirable  elements  were  the  ungainly,  illiterate  crowds 
from  the  border  states,  such  as  Indiana  Hoosiers  and  Missourians,  or  '  Pike 
County  '  people,  and  the  pretentious,  fire-eating  chivalry  from  the  south. 
While  less  obnoxious  at  first,  the  last  named  proved  more  persistently  objec 
tionable,  for  the  angularities  of  the  others  soon  wore  off  in  the  contact  with 
their  varied  neighbors,  partly  with  the  educated  youths  from  New  England. 
Low's  Stat.,  MS.,  7;  FindlasStat.,  MS.,  9;  Fay's  Facts,  MS.,  19. 

6  In  catering  for  others,  or  making  the  most  of  their  own  moderate  means. 
'Les  plus  pauvres, '  exclaims  Saint  Amant,  Cal.,  487,  on  comparing  their  back 
ward  condition  with  that  of  the  adaptive  Americans. 

7  They  were  slow  to  take  lessons  from  their  inventive  neighbors.     A  warn 
ing  letter  against  the  Chilians  came  from  South  American.    Unbound  Doc., 
327-8.     Revere,  Keel  and  Saddle,  160-1,  commends  their  quickness  for  pros 
pecting,  and  their  patiencs  as  diggers.  Bosthwick's  Gal,  311;  Barry  and  Pat 
tens  Men  and  Mem.,  287  et  seq.;  Fishers  Cals.,  42-9;  AUa  Cal..  June  29,  1851. 

8  As  will  be  seen  later. 

'All  of  which  is  fully  considered  in  another  volume  of  this  work. 

224  SOCIETY. 

Certain  distinctiveness  of  dress  and  manner  assisted 
the  physical  type  in  marking  nationalties;  but  idiosyn 
crasies  were  less  conspicuous  here  than  in  conventional 
circles,  owing  to  the  prevalence  of  the  miner's  garb- 
checked  or  woollen  shirts,  with  a  predominance  of 
red  and  blue,  open  at  the  bosom,  which  could  boast  of 
shaggy  robustness,  or  loosely  secured  by  a  kerchief;  pan 
taloons  half  tucked  into  high  and  wrinkled  boots,  and 
belted  at  the  waist,  where  bristled  an  arsenal  of  knife 
and  pistols.  Beard  and  hair,  emancipated  from  thral 
dom,  revelled  in  long  and  bushy  tufts,  which  rather  har 
monized  with  the  slouched  and  dingy  hat.  Later,  a 
species  of  foppery  broke  out  in  the  flourishing  towns;  on 
Sundays  particularly  gay  colors  predominated.  The 
gamblers,  taking  the  lead,  affected  the  Mexican  style 
of  dress:  white  shirt  with  diamond  studs,  or  breast 
pin  of  native  gold,  chain  of  native  golden  speci 
mens,  broad-brimmed  hat  with  sometimes  a  feather  or 
squirrel's  tail  under  the  band,  top-boots,  and  a  rich 
scarlet  sash  or  silk  handkerchief  thrown  over  the 
shoulder  or  wound  round  the  waist.  San  Francisco 
took  early  a  step  further.  Traders  and  clerks  drew 
forth  their  creased  suits  of  civilization,  till  the  shoot 
ing-jacket  of  the  Briton,  the  universal  black  of  the 
Yankee,  the  tapering  cut  of  the  Parisian,  the  stove 
pipe  hat  and  stand-up  collar  of  the  professional,  ap 
peared  upon  the  street  to  rival  or  eclipse  the  prosti 
tute  and  cognate  fraternity  which  at  first  monopolized 
elegance  in  drapery.10 

Miners,  however,  made  a  resolute  stand  against  any 
approach  to  dandyism,  as  they  termed  the  concomi 
tants  of  shaven  face  and  white  shirt,  as  antagonistic 
to  their  own  foppery  of  rags  and  undress  which  at 
tended  deified  labor.  Clean,  white,  soft  hands  were 
an  abomination,  for  such  were  the  gambler's  and  the 
preacher's,  not  to  speak  of  worshipful  femininity.  But 
horny  were  the  honest  miner's  hands,  whose  one  only 

18 Fay's  Facts,  MS.,  10.  Placer  Times,  Oct.  27,  1849,  and  contemporaries, 
warn  their  readers  against  such  imitation  of  foppery. 


soft  touch  was  the  revolver's  trigger.  A  store-keeper 
in  the  mines  was  a  necessary  evil,  a  cross  between  a 
cattle-thief  and  a  constable;  if  a  fair  trader,  free  to 
give  credit,  and  popular,  he  was  quite  respectable,  more 
so  than  the  saloon-keeper  or  the  loafer,  but  let  him 
not  aspire  to  the  dignity  of  digger.11 

Nor  was  the  conceit  illusive;  for  the  finest  speci 
mens  of  manhood  unfolded  in  these  rugged  forms,  some 
stanch  and  broad-shouldered,  some  gaunt  and  wiry; 
their  bronzed,  hairy  features  weather  bleached  and 
furrowed,  their  deep  rolling  voices  laden  with  oaths, 
though  each  ejaculation  was  tempered  by  the  frankness 
and  humor  of  the  twinkling  eye.  All  this  dissolution  of 
old  conventionalities  and  adoption  of  new  forms,  which 
was  really  the  creation  of  an  original  type,  was  merely 
a  part  of  the  overflowing  sarcasm  and  fun  started  by 
the  dissolution  of  prejudice  and  the  liberation  of 

A  marked  trait  of  the  Californians  was  exuberance 
in  work  and  play,  in  enterprise  or  pastime — an  exuber 
ance  full  of  vigor.  To  reach  this  country  was  in  itself 
a  task  which  implied  energy,  self-reliance,  self-denial, 
and  similar  qualities;  but  moderation  was  not  a  virtue 
consonant  with  the  new  environment.  The  climate 
was  stimulating.  Man  breathed  quicker  and  moved 
faster;  the  very 'windmills  whirled  here  with  a  velocity 
that  would  make  a  Hollander's  head  swim.  And  so 
like  boys  escaped  from  school,  from  supervision,  the 
adventurer  yielded  to  the  impulse,  and  allowed  the 
spirit  within  him  to  run  riot.  The  excitement,  more 
over,  brought  out  the  latent  strength  hitherto  confined 
by  lack  of  opportunity  and  conventional  rules.  Chances 
presented  themselves  in  different  directions  to  vaulting 
ambition.  Thrown  upon  his  own  resources  midst 

11  The  supposed  well-filled  pockets  of  the  miner  and  his  ever-present 
loaded  revolver  made  him  an  object  of  respect.  Their  most  allowable  ap 
proach  to  gay  display  was  in  the  Mexican  muleteer  or  caballero  attire,  not 
omitting  the  gay  sash  and  jingling  spurs.  Kips  Sketches,  18-19;  S.  F.  Dir., 
1852,  12-13;  Overland,  Sept.  1871,  221  Bosthwick's  CaL,  56. 
HIST.  CAL.,  VOL.  VL  15 

226  SOCIETY. 

strange  surroundings,  with  quickened  observation  and 
thought,  the  enterprising  new-comer  cast  aside  tradi 
tional  caution,  and  launched  into  the  current  of  specu 
lation;  for  everything  seemed  to  promise  success 
whatever  course  might  be  pursued,  so  abnormal  were 
the  times  and  place  which  set  at  naught  all  calcula 
tions  formulated  by  wisdom  and  precedent  Amid 
the  general  free  and  magnificent  disorder,  recklessness 
had  its  votaries,  which  led  to  a  wide-spread  emphasis 
in  language,12  and  to  a  full  indulgence  in  exciting 
pastimes.  All  this,  however,  was  but  the  bubble  and 
spray  of  the  river  hurrying  onward  to  a  grander  and 
calmer  future. 

This  frenzied  haste,  no  less  than  the  absence  of 
families,  denoted  that  the  mania  was  for  enrichment, 
with  hopes  rather  of  a  speedy  return  to  the  old  home 
than  of  building  a  new  one.  San  Francisco  and  other 
towns  remained  under  this  idea,  as  well  as  temporary 
camps  and  dep6ts  for  the  gold-fields,  whither  went  not 
only  diggers,  but  in  their  wake  a  vast  following  of 
traders,  purveyors,  gamblers,  and  other  ravenous  non- 
producers  to  absorb  substance. 

The  struggle  for  wealth,  however,  untarnished  by 
sordidness,  stood  redeemed  by  a  whole-souled  liberal 
ity,  even  though  the  origin  of  this  ideal  Californian 
trait,  like  many  another  virtue,  may  be  traced  to  less 
noble  sources;  here  partly  to  the  desire  to  cover  up 
the  main  stimulant — greed;  partly  to  the  prodigality 
bred  by  easy  acquisition;13  partly  to  the  absence  of 
restraining  family  cares.  Even  traders  scorned  to 
haggle.  A  half-dollar  was  the  smallest  coin  that 
could  be  tendered  for  any  service,  arid  many  hesitated 
to  offer  a  quarter  for  the  smallest  article.  Every 
thing  proceeded  on  a  grand  scale ;  even  boot-blacking 
assumed  big  proportions,  with  neatly  fitted  recesses, 

12  For  specimens,  I  refer  to  Cremony's  Apache,  345. 

13  It  was  manifested  in  social  intercourse,  also  in  charity,  which  in  these 
early  days  found  worthy  objects  among  the  suffering  immigrants,  as  related 
under  the  Overland  Journey.     Garniss,  Early  Days,  MS.,  19,  instances  the 
liberality  to  stricken  individuals^  for  which  the  wide-spread  opulence  gave 
less  occasion. 


cushioned  chairs,  and  a  supply  of  entertaining  journals. 
Wages  rose  to  a  dollar  an  hour  for  laborers,  and  to 
twelve  and  twenty  dollars  a  day  for  artisans.14  With 
them  was  raised  the  dignity  of  labor,  sanctified  by  the 
application  of  all  classes,  by  the  independence  of  min 
ing  life,  and  by  the  worshipful  results — gold. 

A  natural  consequence  was  the  levelling  of  rank,  a 
democratic  equalization  hitherto  unapproached,  and 
shattering  the  conservative  notions  more  or  less  preva 
lent.  The  primary  range  of  classes  was  not  so  varied 
as  in  the  older  countries;  for  the  rich  and  powerful 
would  not  come  to  toil,  and  the  very  poor  could  not 
well  gain  the  distant  land;  but  where  riches  lay  so 
near  the  reach  of  all,  their  accumulation  conferred  less 
advantage.  Aptitude  was  the  esteemed  and  distin 
guishing  trait.  The  aspiring  man  could  break  away 
from  drudgery  at  home,  and  here  find  many  an  open 
field  with  independence  The  laborer  might  gain  the 
footing  of  employer ;  the  clerk  the  position  of  principal ; 
while  former  doctors,  lawyers,  and  army  officers  could 
be  seen  toiling  for  wages,  even  as  waiters  and  shoe 
blacks.  Thus  were  grades  reversed,  fitness  to  grasp 
opportunity  giving  the  ascendency.15 

The  levelling  process  left  indelible  traces;  yet  from 
the  first  the  mental  reservation  and  consequent  effort 
were  made  to  rise  above  any  enforced  subjection.  The 
idea  of  abasement  was  sometimes  softened  by  the 
disguise  of  name,  which  served  also  for  fugitives  from 
misfortune  or  disgrace,  while  it  flattered  imitators  of 
humble  origin.  This  habit  received  wide  acknowl 
edgment  and  application,  especially  in  the  mines, 

14  As  "vill  be  considered  under  Industries. 

15  Even  clergymen  left  an  unappreciated  calling  to  dig  for  gold.    Wilky,  in 
Home  Missionm-y,  xxii.  92.     Little,  Stat.,  MS.,  11,  instances  in  his  service  as 
porters,  muleteers,  etc.,  two  doctors,  two  planters  claiming  to  own  estates, 
and  a  gentleman,  whatever  that  may  be.     See  also  Cassin,  Stat. ,  MS. ,  5-6, 
who  identified  in  a  bootblack  a  well-known  French  journalist  of  prominent 
family.     Count  Raousset  de  Boulbon,  of  filibuster  fame,  who  prided  himself 
on  royal  blood,  admits  working  as  a  wharf  laborer.     Master  and  slave  from 
the  southern  states  could  be  seen  working  and  living  together.     But  such 
instances  are  well  known.     No  sensible  man  objected  to  manual  labor,  al 
though  he  hesitated  at  the  menial  grades. 


where  nicknames  became  the  rule,  with  a  preference 
for  abbreviated  baptismal  names,  particularized  by  an 
epithet  descriptive  of  the  person,  character,  national 
ity;  as  Sandy  Pete,  Long-legged  Jack,  Dutchy.  The 
cause  here  may  be  sought  chiefly  in  the  blunt  unre 
strained  good-fellowship  of  the  camp,  which  banished 
all  formality  and  superfluous  courtesy.16 

The  requirements  of  mining  life  favored  partnership ; 
and  while  few  of  the  associations  formed  for  the  jour 
ney  oat  kept  together,  new  unions  were  made  for 
mutual  aid  in  danger,  sickness,  and  labor.  Sacred  like 
the  marriage  bonds,  as  illustrated  by  the  softening  of 
partner  into  the  familiar  'pard,'  were  the  ties  which  oft 
united  men  vastly  different  in  physique  and  tempera 
ment,  the  weak  and  strong,  the  lively  and  sedate,  thus 
yoking  themselves  together.  It  presented  the  affinity 
of  opposites,  with  the  heroic  possibilities  of  a  Damon 
or  Patroclus.17  Those  already  connected  with  benevo 
lent  societies  sought  out  one  another  to  revive  them 
for  the  practice  of  charity,  led  by  the  Odd  Fellows, 
who  united  as  early  as  1847.18 

With  manhood  thus  exalted  rose  the  sense  of  duty 
and  honor.  Where  legal  redress  was  limited,  owing 
to  the  absence  of  well-established  government,  reliance 
had  to  be  placed  mainly  on  individual  faith.  In  1848 
and  1849  locks  and  watchmen  were  little  thought  of, 
In  the  towns  valuable  goods  lay  freely  exposed,  or 
sheltered  only  by  frail  canvas  structures;  and  in  the 
camps  tents  stood  unguarded  throughout  the  day,  with 
probably  a  tin  pan  full  of  gold-dust  in  open  view  upon 
the  shelf.19  The  prevalent  security  was  due  less  to 

16  Yet  it  required  great  intimacy  to  question  even  a  comrade  concerning 
his  real  name  and  former  life. 

17  This  applies  of  course  rather  to  unions  of  two.     Rules  for  larger  asso 
ciations  are  reproduced  in  Skinns  Mining  Camps,  113;  FarweWa  Vig.,  MS.,  5. 

18  An  account  of  these  and  other  orders  will  be  given  later. 

19  The  frail  nature  of  the  early  business  houses  in  S.  F.  and  elsewhere  has 
been  described.     Wheaton  instances  a  crockery  shop  on  the  border  of  the 
Sydney  convict  settlement,  where  a  notice  invited  purchasers  to  select  their 
goods  and  leave  the  money  in  a  plate,  the  proprietor  being  engaged  elsewhere. 
Stot.,  MS.,  3-4.     Coleman  relates  that  a  gold  watch  was  picked  up  near  his 


the  absence  of  bad  men — for  reckless  adventurers  had 
long  been  pouring  in,  as  instanced  by  the  character 
and  conduct  of  many  of  the  disbanded  New  York 
volunteers — than  to  the  readiness  with  which  gold  and 
wages  could  be  gained,  and  to  the  armed  and  deter 
mined  attitude  of  the  people.  Soon  came  a  change, 
however,  with  the  greater  influx  of  obnoxious  ele 
ments;  and  the  leaden  reality  of  hard  work  dissipated 
the  former  visions  of  broad-cast  gold.  Fugitives  from 
trouble  and  dishonor  had  been  lured  to  California, 
graceless  scions  of  respectable  families,  and  never-do- 
wells,  men  of  wavering  virtue  and  frail  piety,  withering 
before  temptation  and  sham-haters,  turned  to  swell  the 
army  of  knaves.20  Bolder  ruffians  took  the  initiative 
and  banded  to  raid  systematically,  especially  on  con 
voys  from  the  mines.  So  depraved  became  their 
recklessness  that  sweeping  conflagrations  were  planned 
for  the  plunder  to  be  obtained,21  while  assassination 
followed  as  a  matter  of  course.  But  murder  was  lit 
tle  thought  of  as  compared  with  the  heinous  crime  of 
theft.  Disregard  for  life  was  fostered  by  an  excitable 
temperament,  the  frequency  of  drunken  brawls,  the 
universal  habit  of  carrying  weapons,  and  the  nomadic 
and  isolated  position  of  individuals,  remote  from 

camp  and  left  suspended  on  a  tree  for  a  fortnight,  undisturbed  till  the  owner 
returned  to  claim  it.  Viy.,  MS.,  2.  Most  pioneers  unite  in  extolling  the 
security  prevalent  in  those  days.  '  Property  was  safer  in  California  than  in 
the  older  states. '  Delano's  Life,  359.  Gov.  Mason  wrote  nearly  to  the  sa'me 
effect  in  Oct.  1848.  U.  S.  Gov.  Doc.,  Cong.  31,  Sess.  1,  H.  Ex.  Doc.  17,  p.  677; 
Burnett's  Rec.,  MS.,  ii.  142-3;  Brooks'  Four  Mo.,  67.  In  previous  chapters 
has  been  shown  the  extent  of  crime  in  1848,  as  instanced  in  the  Calif ornian,  Feb. 
2,  1848;  Cat.  S'ar,  Feb.  26;  Star  and  Cal.,  Dec.  9,  1848,  etc.  See  further,  for 
both  years,  Winans'  Stat.,  MS.,  14-16;  Olney's  Viy.,  MS.,  1;  Neall's  Stat., 
MS.,  3-5;  Buttons  Stat.,  MS.,  10;  Sac.  Transcript,  Apr.  26,  1850,  etc.;  Fay's 
Facts,  MS.,  2;  Gillespie's  Vig.,  MS.,  5;  Friend,  vii.  74;  Littles  Stat.,  MS.,  16; 
Findlas  Stat.,  MS.,  6;  McCollum's  Cal.,  62;  Staples'  Stat.,  MS.,  14;  Cal.  Past 
and  Pres.,  162-3. 

20  Say  ward,  Pion.  Rem.,  MS.,  32-3,  states  that  after  the  Missourians  began 
to  come,  insecurity  increased.     In  1850  things  had  reached  such  a  pass  that 
mail  agents  were  afraid  to  carry  gold,  lest  they  should  be  murdered.    Woods' 
Sixteen  Mo.,    141;    Crosbys  Stat.,   MS.,  41-2.     Helper,  Land  of  Gold,  36-8, 
paints  the  criminal  aspect  in  dark  colors;  Cox's  An.  Trinity  Co.,  62-3.     Bar- 
stow,  Stat.,  MS.,  10,  points  to  the  Irish  as  the  rowdy  element.   Chamber  Iain's 
Stat.,  MS.,  1;  Say  ward' s  Rem.,  MS.,  33. 

21  Brooks,  Four  Mo.,  142-3,  168-9,  187-8,  201,  refers  to  several  bands,  as 
do  Burnett  and  others.     For  criminal  records,  I  refer  to  my  Popular  Tribunals, 
and  for  cognate  data  to  a  later  chapter  on  the  administration  of  justice 

230  SOCIETY. 

friends  who  might  inquire  into  their  disappearance. 
An  armed  man  was  supposed  to  take  care  of  himself.22 
The  lack  of  judicial  authorities  tended  further  to  pro 
mote  the  personal  avenging  of  wrongs  by  duel,23 
which  took  place  frequently  by  public  announcement. 
In  the  northern  and  central  mining  districts  the 
preponderance  of  sedate  yet  resolute  Americans  with 
a  ready  recourse  to  lynching  inspired  a  wholesome 
awe ;  but  along  the  San  Joaquin  tributaries,  abounding 
with  less  sober-minded  Sonorans  and  Hispano- Ameri 
cans,  this  restraint  diminished,24  the  more  so  as  race 
animosity  was  becoming  rampant.  Swift  and  radical 
penalties  alone  were  necessary  in  the  interior,  on 
account  of  lack  of  prisons;  and  even  San  Francisco 
found  these  measures  indispensable  in  1851,  despite 
her  accessories  of  police  and  chain-gangs.25  The  ever- 
moving  and  fluctuating  current  of  life  proved  a  shield 
to  evil-doers,  and  fostered  the  roaming  instinct  which 
had  driven  so  many  westward,  and  was  breeding  per 
nicious  habits  of  vagrancy  and  loafing.26  Every  camp 
had  its  bully,  who  openly  boasted  of  prowess  against 
Indians,  as  well  as  of  his  white  targets,  and  flaunted 
an  intimidating  braggardism.  Likewise  every  town 
possessed  its  sharpers,  on  the  watch  for  gold-laden 
and  confiding  miners. 

22  Helper,  Land  of  Gold,  29,  158,  estimates  in  1854  that  since  the  opening 
of  the  mines  Cal.  had  '  invested  upwards  of  six  millions  of  dollars  in  bowie- 
knives  and  pistols.'     The  same  fertile  inquirer  finds  for  this  period  4,200 
murders  and  1,400  suicides,  besides  10,000  more  of  miserable  deaths.     For 
early  years  no  reliable  records  exist  in  this  direction,  but  those  for  the  more 
settled  year  of  1855  show  538  deaths  by  violence,  whereof  two  thirds  were 
white  persons,  the  rest  Indians  and  Chinese.     Further  data  in  a  later  chapter. 

23  Revolvers  were  the  most  ready  instruments.     A  common  practice  for 
principals  was  to  place  themselves  back  to  back,  march  five  paces,  turn  and 
are  till  the  pistol  chambers  were  emptied  or  the  men  disabled.     Shooting  on 
sight  was  in  vogue,  involving  no  little  danger  to  passers-by.     '  I  mistook  you 
for  another,"  was  more  than  once  the  excuse  to  some  innocent  victim.  Olney's 
Vig.,  MS..  3;  HittelVs  Res.,  377;  Atta  Cal,  July  3,  1851,  and  other  numbers. 
See  also  Du  Hailly,  in  Revue  deux  Mondes,  Feb.  1859,  612;  Truman  s  Field  oj 
Honor,  and  my  Inter  Pocula  and  Pop.  Tribunals. 

'"Placer  Times,  July  20,  1849. 

2b  Steps  were  taken  in  1850  to  prevent  the  entry  of  convicts,  Cal.  Statutes, 
1850,  202,  yet  many  succeeded  in  landing.  Alia  Gal,  May  10,  July  15-16, 

26  As  complained  of  already  in  1850.  Pac.  News,  Jan.  5,  1850. 


Much  of  the  growing  crime  took  root  during  the 
•wet  winter  of  1849-50,  which  brought  starvation 
and  sickness  to  the  inaccessible  camps.  Ill  health 
was  wide-spread,  and  more  lamentable  owing  to  the 
isolation  of  sufferers,  devoid  of  friends  and  means,  and 
remote  from  doctors  and  medicine.  The  seed  of  dis 
ease  was  frequently  laid  during  the  voyage  out,  in  the 
unwholesome  food  and  atmosphere  of  crowded  vessels. 
Then  came  new  climates  and  surroundings,  unusual 
and  exhausting  labor,  standing  in  water  or  on  moist 
ground  under  a  broiling  sun,  the  insufficient  shelter  of 
tents  or  sheds,  beds  made  upon  the  damp  soil,  poor 
and  scanty  provisions,  excitement  and  dissipation. 
All  this  could  not  fail  to  affect  most  of  the  inexperi 
enced  new-comers,  especially  with  fever,  bowel  com 
plaint,  and  rheumatism;  while  scurvy,  cutaneous, 
syphilitic,  and  pulmonary  diseases,  claimed  their  vic 
tims.27  In  October  1850  came  the  cholera;  and  al 
though  disappearing  with  the  year,  it  is  supposed  to 
have  carried  off  fifteen  per  cent  of  the  population  at 
Sacramento,  and  about  half  that  proportion  westward,28 
besides  frightening  away  a  large  number.  The  strain 
of  excitement,  with  attendant  disappointments  and 
windfalls,  predisposed  to  insanity,  while  lowering  the 

27  The  report  from  the  state  marine  hospital  at  S.  F.  shows  the  proportion 
of  262  diarrhoea  cases,  204  dy sentry,  113  acute  rheumatism,  93  intermittent 
fever,  47  chronic  rheumatism,  46  scurvy,  40  gonorrhea,  37  typhus,  29  pythisis, 
28  bronchitis,  26  pneumonia,  among   1,200  patients.   Cal.  Jour.  Sen.,   1851, 
921-3.     Diarrhoea  killed  10  out  of  a  party  of  19  on  Trinity  River.  Pac.  News, 
May  9,  1 850.     Dysentery  was  equally  common,  with  ulcerated  bowels.  Daws' 
Viy.,  MS.,  2;  Unbound  Doc.,  MS.,  20;  Barstow's  Stat.,  MS.,  2-3,  12;  Larkins 
Doc.,  vi.  172,  175.     Destitution  and  death  by  starvation  is  mentioned  in  Pac. 
News,  Dec.  13,   1849;  Oarniss   Early  Days,  MS.,  11.     A  remedy  for  scurvy 
was  to  bury  the  patient  in  earth,  all  but  the  head.     '  Whole  camps  were  some 
times  buried  at  once,  except  a  few  who  remained  out  to  keep  off  the  grizzlys 
and  coyotes.'  Sawtelles  Pioneers,  MS.,  5;  Morse's  Stat.,  MS. 

28  At  San  Jose  ten  per  cent,  at  S.  F.  five.  Burnett's  Rec.t  MS.,  ii.  241.     It 
caused  a  rush  of  passengers  by  the  Panama  steamer.     Some  died  on  board, 
but  within  a  week  the  pest  disappeared.   Crary's  Vi>j.,  MS.,  1.     It  raged  in 
Ophir,  etc.  Pac.  News,  Nov.  1,   1850;  Cal.  Courier,  Oct.  24,  Dec.  21,  1850; 
S.  F.  Picayune,  Oct.  23,   25,   Nov.  4,  6,  Dec.  5,  1850.     Judge  Hoffman  suc 
cumbed.     A  cholera  hospital  was  opened  at  S.  F.,  on  Broadway.  S.  F.  Direc 
tory,  1852,  17;    Ver  Mehrs  Life,  367;  Sac.  Transcript,  Oct.   14,  1850,  says  it 
broke  out  at  S.  F.;  Polynesian,  vii.  98,  110,  114,  118,  138;  Shuck's  Revres.  Men, 
936.     It  reappeared  in  1852. 

232  SOCIETY. 

and  mental  tone.29  The  lack  of  remedial 
facilities  in  the  mining  camps  directed  a  stream  of  in 
valids  to  the  towns,  especially  to  San  Francisco,  despite 
its  unfavorable  winds  and  moisture.  There  were  also 
constantly  left  stranded  new-comers,  reduced  by  Pan 
ama  fevers  and  the  hardships  attending  badly  fitted 
vessels,  made  desperate  by  destitution  and  suffering, 
from  which  only  too  many  sought  escape  by  suicide.30 
Little  ceremony  attended  the  burial  of  these  unfortu 
nates  in  the  cities,  but  in  the  mines  a  procession  of 
miners  usually  attended  to  consign  a  comrade,  often 
shroudless  and  uncoffined,  to  a  shallow  grave.31  The 
high  cost  of  treatment  by  doctors  and  at  private  hos 
pitals,  with  over-crowding  and  neglect  in  the  public 
wards,  tended  to  keep  the  death-rate  high  during  the 
first  two  years  of  the  mining  era.32 

Obviously  in  a  community  of  men  the  few  women 
present  were  very  conspicuous.  There  were  whole 
groups  of  camps  which  could  be  searched  in  vain  for 
the  presence  of  a  single  woman,  and  where  one  was 
found  she  proved  too'  often  only  the  fallen  image,  the 
center  of  gyrating  revelry  and  discord.33  In  San 

29 In  1850  twelve  persons  were  cast  upon  the  care  of  S.  F.,  with  an  increase 
to  three  times  that  number  by  1852,  and  legislative  steps  were  taken  to  pro 
vide  for  the  afflicted,  at  first  in  a  brig  anchored  at  North  Beach.  Cal  Jour. 
Ho.,  1850,  1341;  Cal  Polit.  Code,  297-306;  Fernandez,  Cal,  189;  Mines  and 
Miners,  795-6;  S.  F.  Herald,  Sept.  30,  1851. 

3y  By  the  close  of  1854  the  suicides  were  estimated  at  1,400.  Helper's  Land 
of  Gold,  29.  Some  went  to  the  Hawaiian  Islands. 

31  At  S.  F.  pauper  burials  were  contracted  for  in  1850  at  the  reduced  rate 
of  $35,  formerly  $50  to  $100.  S.  F.  Minutes,  1849-50,  68,  79-82,  etc. ;  Garmss1 
Early  Days,  MS.,  10;    Wheatons  Stat.,  MS.,  2.     Mr  Gray  came   from  New 
York  in  1850,  as  a  professional  undertaker.  Pac.  News,  May  1,  1850;  S.  F.  A  Ita, 
June  11,  1853;  Feb.  26,   1863;  Polynesian,  vi.  110;  Hatchings'  Mag.,  iii.  133, 
252.     The  interments  at  S.  F.  prior  to  1850  are  estimated  at  970'.     For  the 
year  ending  July  1851,  when  cholera  raged,  they  rose  to  1,475,  then   fell  to 
1,005,  rising  again  to  1,575,  with  a  proportionate  decline  after  July  1853. 
Annals  S.  F.,  593-6. 

32  Hospitals  are  spoken  of  under  Sac.  and  S.  F.  annals.     A  board  of  health 
was  organized  in  1850;  also  a  medical  society,  June  22d.  Pac.  News,  May  18, 
Dec.  14,  1850;  Cal.  Courier,  Oct.  23-4,  1850.     The  fee-bill  of  the  latter  ranged 
from  'an  ounce,'  $16,  the  lowest  price,  upward;  visits  were  rated  at  $32;  ad 
vice  and  operations  were  specified  as  high  as  $1,000.  Miscel  Stat.,  MS.,  3-4; 
Armstrong  s  Exper.,  MS  ,  9. 

33  The  place  of  women  at  dances  would  be  taken  by  men.     In  1850  more 
women  began  to  come  in,  although  composed  largely  of  loose  elements.     Num- 


Francisco  and  other  large  towns,  families  began  to 
settle,  yet  for  a  long  time  the  disreputable  ele 
ment  outshone  the  virtuous  by  loudness  in  dress 
and  manner,  especially  in  public  resorts.  In  the 
scarcity  men  assumed  the  heroic,  and  women  became 
worshipful.  The  few  present  wore  an  Aphrodite 
girdle,  which  shed  a  glamour  over  imperfections,  till 
they  found  themse]ves  divinities,  centres  of  chivalric 
adorers.  In  the  mining  region  men  would  travel  from 
afar  for  a  glance  at  a  newly  arrived  female,  or  handle 
in  mock  or  real  ecstasy  some  fragment  of  female  ap 
parel.34  Even  in  the  cities  passers-by  would  turn  to 
salute  a  female  stranger,35  while  the  appearance  of  a 
little  girl  would  be  heralded  like  that  of  an  angel, 
many  a  rugged  fellow  bending  with  tears  of  recollec- 

bers  'from  the  east,'  observes  Barstow,  Stat.,  MS.,  4.  The  preponderance  in 
this  class  lay,  however,  with  Hispano- Americans,  not  excepting  Californians, 
says  Cerruti,  Ramblings,  MS.,  50.  Hundreds  were  brought  from  Mazatlan 
and  San  Bias  on  trust,  and  transferred  to  bidders  with  whom  the  girls  shared 
their  earnings.  Fernandez,  CaL,  190-1.  The  Peruvians  were  sought  for  danc 
ing-saloons.  Australia  sent  many.  Polynesian,  vii.  34.  French  women  were 
brought  out  to  preside  at  gambling-tables.  '  Nine  hundred  of  the  French  demi 
monde  are  expected,'  announces  the  Pac.  News,  Oct.  23,  1850,  to  reside  on 
Stockton  and  Filbert  sts.  The  number  dwindled  to  50.  Sac.  Transcript,  Nov. 
29,  1850.  Indian  women  were  freely  offered  at  the  camps,  and  the  number 
was  increased  by  kidnapped  females  from  the  Marquesas  Islands.  See  outcry 
on  this  point  in  Alia  CaL,  Dec.  21,  24,  1850.  One  noted  prostitute  claimed 
to  have  earned  $50,000.  Oarniss'  Early  Days,  MS.,  7.  For  first  published 
case  of  adultery  in  1849  at  S.  F.,  see  Richardsons  Exper.,  MS.,  27;  also 
Miscel.  Stat.,  MS.,  2;  Hayes1  Scraps,  CaL  Notes,  v.  60,  etc.  The  Home  Mis 
sionary,  xxii-  163-7,  xxvii.  159,  intimates  that  half  the  women  in  S.  F.  were 
of  the  loose  element.  Boltonvs.  U.  S.,  99-101;  Velasco,  Son.,  325.  The  CaL 
Courier,  Oct.  21-2,  Nov.  16,  1850,  inveighs  against  the  demi-monde,  while 
the  Alta  CaL,  Dec.  19,  1850,  commends  the  improved  morals.  So  does  S.  F. 
Picayune,  Sept.  27,  1850,  although  it  admits  that  even  the  higher  classes  were 
dissolute.  Armstrong,  Exper.,  MS.,  12,  speaks  of  the  personation  of  women 
and  the  sale  of  a  wife.  In  Oct.  1849  there  were  not  over  50  U.  S.  women  in 
S.  F.,  says  McCollum,  CaL,  61. 

34  A  story  is  told  of  the  excitement  over  the  discovery  of  a  bonnet,  attended 
by  a  dance  around  it,  hoisted  upon  a  May -pole.  Some  add  a  stuffed  figure 
to  the  bonnet,  and  put  a  cradle  by  its  side.  Winans'  Stat.,  MS.,  17;  Letts' 
CaL  lllusl.,  89-90.  An  acquaintance  of  Burnett,  Rec.,  MS.,  ii.  38-9,  related 
that  he  travelled  40  miles  to  behold  a  woman.  Steamboat  agents  would  cry 
out,  '  Ladies  on  board  ! '  to  draw  custom.  Gamblers  and  proprietors  of  public 
resorts  used  to  board  vessels  to  offer  flattering  engagements;  but  even  then 
women  were  soon  married.  Concerning  claims  to  being  female  pioneers  in 
different  counties,  see  SanJos6  Pioneer,  July  7,  1877,  etc.;  S.  F.  Bulletin, 
May  5,  Aug.  11,  1876,  etc.;  Record-Union,  May  4,  1876,  etc. 

30  The  attention  often  made  modest  women  uncomfortable,  while  others 
encouraged  it  by  extravagant  conduct.  Loose  characters  flaunted  costly  attire 
in  elegant  equipages,  or  appeared  walking  or  riding  in  male  attire.  Farn- 
hanis  CaL,  22-3;  Barry  and  Patten,  Men  and  Mem.,  138-9. 

234  SOCIETY. 

tion  to  give  her  a  kiss  and  press  a  golden  ounce  into 
her  hand.  The  effects  of  these  tender  sentiments  re 
mained  rooted  in  the  hearts  of  Californians  long  after 
the  romance  age,36  the  only  mellow  trait  with  many  a 
one,  the  only  thing  sacred  being  some  base  imitation 
of  the  divine  image. 

As  modest  virtue  regained  the  ascendency  with  the 
increase  of  families,  indecency  retreated,  to  be  sought 
in  the  shadow  by  the  men  of  all  classes  who,  during 
the  earlier  absence  of  social  restraint,  hesitated  not  to 
walk  the  street  beside  a  prostitute,  or  yield  to  the  al 
lurement  of  debased  female  company  midst  surround 
ings  far  more  comfortable  and  elegant  than  their  own 
solitary  chambers.37  With  the  subordination  to  some 
extent  of  the  grand  passion,  gambling  and  other  dissi 
pations  received  a  check,  and  higher  pastimes  and  the 
home  circle  rose  in  favor.  As  any  semblance  of  a 
woman  could  be  almost  sure  of  speedy  marriage,  in 
tending  settlers  hastened  to  bring  out  female  friends 
and  relatives;  benevolent  persons  sought  to  relieve  the 
surplus  market  at  home,38  and  successful  men  recalled 
some  acquaintance  in  their  native  village  with  whom 

36  It  was  for  a  long  time  difficult  to  find  a  jury  which  would  convict  a 

37  Balls  were  frequently  attended  at  these  places  by  public  men  of  promi 
nence,  where  decorum  prevailed,  and  champagne  at  high  prices  was  made  to 
pay  the  cost  of  supper. 

38  Mrs  Farnham  issued  a  circular  in  N.  Y.,  Feb.  1849,  offering  to  take  out 
a  number  of  respectable  women,  not  over  25  years  of  age,  each  to  contribute 
$250  for  expenses.     Mrs  F.  fell  sick,  and  the  enterprise  was  left  in  abeyance. 
Farnham's  Col.,  25-7.     Subsequently  she  did  bring  out  a  number,  adds  Clark, 
Stat.,  MS.,  1-2;  Revue  Deux  Mondes,  Feb.  15,  1859,  948-9.     A  similar  futile 
Parisian  enterprise  had  in  view  a  share  of  the  marriage  portion.  Pac.  News, 
Nov.  11,1850.     Advertisements  for  wives  were  not  uncommon.     InSawtcllc's 
Pioneers,  MS.,  10,  is  related  the  repeated  contests  for  and  frequent  marriage 
of  a  Mexican  widow.     Placer  Times,  Dec.  15,  1849,  boasts  of  a  wedding  at 
tended  by  20  ladies,  and  the  display  of  dress-coats  and  kid  gloves.     A  mer 
cenary  fellow  of  Shasta  advertised  admission  to  his  wedding  at  $5  a  ticket, 
which  brought  a  snug  sum  with  which  to  start  the  household.  Hutchings'  Mag., 
ii.  567;  Cal.  Steamer,  25th  Anniv.,  50-1;  Pac.  News,  Nov.  4,  11,  1850.     Adver 
tisement  for  200  Chilian  brides,  in  Polynesian,  v.  202.     It  is  said  that  Burnett 
owed   his   election   for   governor  greatly  to  being  married  and  having  two 
daughters;  his  opponent  was  a  bachelor.   Hall's  Hist.,  204;  Woods'  $ixteen  Mo. , 
75;  Pioneer  Mag.,  ii.  80;  Hesperian,  ii.  10,  494;  Shinns  Mining  Camps,  137; 
Fremont's  Am-.  Travel,   100-3,   112.     A  writer  in  Overland,  xiv.  327,  denies 
the  rarity  of  and  stir  caused  by  women,  but  on  insufficient  grounds.  Merrill's 
Stat.,  MS.,  10;  Souk's  Stat.,  MS.,  4. 

THE  OLD  HOME.  235 

to  open  correspondence  with  a  view  to  matrimony. 
As  a  class,  the  women  of  this  period  were  inferior  in 
education  and  manners  to  the  men;  for  the  hardships 
of  the  voyage  and  border  life  held  back  the  more  re 
fined;  but  as  comforts  increased  the  better  class  of 
women  came  in,39  and  the  standard  of  female  respecta 
bility  was  elevated. 

Distance  did  not  seem  to  weaken  the  bond  with  the 
old  home,40  to  judge  especially  by  the  general  excite 
ment  created  by  the  arrival  of  a  mail  steamer.  What 
a  straining  of  eyes  toward  the  signal-station  on  Tele- 
hill,  as  the  time  of  her  coming  drew  nigh! 

liat  a  rush  toward  the  landing !  What  a  struggle 
to  secure  the  month-old  newspaper,  which  sold  readily 
for  a  dollar  I  For  letters  patience  had  to  be  curbed, 
owing  to  the  scanty  provisions  at  the  post-office  for 
sorting  the  bulky  mail  Such  was  the  anxiety,  how 
ever,  that  numbers  took  their  position  in  the  long  line 
before  the  delivery  window  during  the  preceding  day  or 
night,  fortified  with  stools  and  creature  comforts.  There 
were  boys  and  men  who  made  a  business  of  taking  a 
place  in  the  post-office  line  to  sell  it  to  later  comers, 
who  would  find  the  file  probably  extending  round 
more  than  one  block.  There  was  ample  time  for  re 
flection  while  thus  waiting  before  the  post-office  win 
dow,  not  to  mention  the  agony  of  suspense,  heightened 
by  the  occasional  demonstration  of  joy  or  sorrow  on 
the  part  of  others  on  reading  their  letters.41 

The  departure  of  a  steamer  presented  scenes  hardly 
less  stirring,  the  mercantile  class  being  especially 
earnest  in  efforts  to  collect  outstanding  debts  for  re 
mittance.  At  the  wharf  stood  preeminent  sturdy 

39  And  diminished  the  number  of  California  widows  left  in  almost  every 
town  of  the  eastern  states;  many  of  them  pining  and  struggling  against  pov 
erty  for  years  in  the  vain  hope  of  meeting  again  their  husbands. 

40  As  proved,  indeed,  by  later  incidents,  the  war  of  1861-5,  the  railway 
connection,  etc. 

41lhe  scene  at  the  post-office  is  a  favorite  topic  with  writers  on  this 
period.  Instance  McCoUums  Gal,  62-3;  Casern's  Stat.,  MS.,  16-17;  Kelly 's 
Excurs.,  ii.  252-5,  with  humorous  strokes;  Borthwick's  Cal.,  83-5;  Gal.  Scraps, 
126-7;  AUa  Cal,  Aug.  28,  1854,  etc. 

236  SOCIETY. 

miners  girdled  with  well-filled  belts,  their  complacent 
faces  turned  eastward.  Old  Californians  they  boasted 
themselves,  though  counting,  perhaps,  less  than  a  half- 
year  sojourn ;  many  strutting  in  their  coarse  and  soiled 
camp  attire,  glorying  in  their  rags  like  Antisthenes, 
through  the  holes  of  whose  clothes  Socrates  saw  such 
rank  pride  peering.  Conspicuous  by  contrast  were 
many  haggard  and  dejected  faces,  stamped  by  broken 
constitutions,  soured  by  disappointment.  Others  no 
less  unhappy,  without  even  the  means  to  follow  them, 
were  left  behind,  stranded;  with  hope  fled,  and  having 
relinquished  the  struggle  to  sink  perhaps  into  the  out 
cast's  grave. 

Housekeeping  in  these  days,  even  in  the  cities,  was 
attended  by  many  discomforts.  The  difficulty  of  ob 
taining  female  servants,  which  prevailed  even  in  later 
years,  gave  rise  to  the  phenomenon  of  male  house-ser 
vants,  first  in  Irish,  French,  or  Italian,  and  later  in  Chi 
nese  form.  Fleas,  rats,  and  other  vermin  abounded;42 
laundry  expenses  often  exceeded  the  price  of  new 
underwear;43  water  and  other  conveniences  were  lack 
ing,44  and  dwelling  accommodations  most  deficient,  the 
flimsy  cloth  partitions  in  hotels  forbidding  privacy.45 

For  the  unmarried  men  any  hovel  answered  the 
purpose,  fitted  as  they  were  for  privation  by  the  hard 
ships  of  a  sea  voyage  or  a  transcontinental  journey. 

42  The  city  swarmed  with   rats   of   enormous  size.     Poison  being   freely 
scattered  to  exterminate  them,  they  were  driven  by  pain  to  the  wells,  which 
thus  became  unfit  for  use.    Torres,  Perip.,  109.     Barry  and  Patten,  Men  and 
Mem.,  91-2,  allude  to  the  species  of  rats  brought  by  vessels  from  different 
countries,  notably  the  white,  pink-eyed  rice  rat  from  Batavia.    Wilmington 
Enterprise,  Jan.  21,  1875. 

43  So  that  soiled  shirts  were  frequently  thrown  away.     Mrs  Tibbey,  in 
Miscel  Stat.,  MS.,  20.     The  largest  laundry  nourished  at  Washerwoman's 
lagoon,  at  the  western  foot  of  Russian  hill.     Much  linen  was  sent  to  Canton 
and  -the  Hawaiian  Islands  to  be  washed. 

44  Ver  Mehr  credits  Gillespie  with  the  first  carriage  in  S.  F.     Mrs  Fremont 
claims  it  for  herself.  Am.  Travel,  118.     Posterity  may  let  them  both  have  it, 
and  lose  nothing.     "Water  was  at  one  time  brought  from  Sauzalito  in  boats 
and  distributed  by  carts;  some  wells  were  then  dug,  the  carts  continuing  the 

4!)  These  disturbing  causes  tended  to  the  breaking  up  of  homes,  as  instanced 
by  desertion  and  divorce  petitions  in  1849-50.  Pac.  News,  Dec.  22,  1849;  Jan. 
15,  1850;  PlacervilleDemoc.,  Apr.  24,  1875,  etc. 


The  bunk-lined  room  of  the  ordinary  lodging-house,46 
the  wooden  shed,  or  canvas  tent,  could  hardly  have 
been  more  uncomfortable  than  the  foul-smelling  and 
musty  ship  hold.  Thus  the  high  price  prevalent  for 
board  and  lodging,  as  well  as  the  discomforts  attend 
ing  housekeeping  and  home  life,  tended  to  heighten 
the  allurements  of  vice-breeding  resorts. 

Californians  have  acquired  an  unenviable  reputation 
by  reason  of  their  bar-room  drinking  propensities.  At 
first  this  was  attributed  to  the  lack  of  homes  and 
higher  recreations:  but  the  increase  of  drinking- 

O  7  O 

saloons  and  wide-spread  indulgence  point  for  explana 
tion  to  other  causes,  such  as  temperament,  excitement, 
strain,  and  some  have  said  climate.47  The  tendency 
is  cognate  with  the  exuberance  of  the  people,  with 
their  lavishness  and  characteristic  tendency  toward 
excess,  which  has  also  fostered  the  habit  of  not  drink 
ing  alone.  Solitary  tippling  is  universally  stamped 
as  mean;  and  rather  than  incur  such  a  stigma  the 
bar-keeper  must  be  invited.  Yet  the  excess  is  mani 
fested  less  in  actual  inebriety  than  in  frequent  indul 
gence  at  all  hours  of  the  day  and  night,  which  with 
the  vile  adulterations  often  used,  succeeds  effectu 
ally  in  killing,  or  undermining  the  constitution  and 
morals  of  thousands.  In  early  days  the  subtle  attrac 
tion  was  increased  by  contrast  between  a  dismal  lodg 
ing  and  the  bright  interior  of  the  saloon,  with  its 
glittering  chandeliers,  costly  mirrors  wreathed  with 
inspiring  banners,  striking  and  lascivious  paintings, 
inviting  array  of  decanters,  perhaps  music  and  sirens, 
some  luring  with  song  and  dance,  some  by  a  more 
direct  appeal.48  Until  far  into  1850,  when  San  Fran 
cisco  introduced  street  lamps,  the  reflection  from  these 
illuminated  hot-beds  of  vice  was  about  all  the  light 

46  As  described  elsewhere  in  connection  with  dwellings  and  hotels. 

47  The  climatic  excuse  was  general  as  early  as  1849.  Moore's  Pio.  Exper.t 
MS.,  7. 

48  In  Sacramento  a  number  of  saloon-keepers  combined  to  save  the  expense 
of  music,  but  failed.  Sac.  Transcript,  Oct.  14,  1850. 


the  city  had,  the  canvas  houses  glowing  with  special 
effect  upon  the  muddy  streets,  or  throwing  their  weird 
light  far  out  into  the  waters  of  the  bay.  In  the 
saloons  of  the  mining  towns  comfortable  chairs  and 
the  central  stove  presented  the  only  relief  to  a  dingy 
interior,  with  its  card-table,  cheap  pictures,  well- 
stocked  bar,  and  ever-thirsty  hangers-on.  The  pro 
prietor,  however,  was  often  a  host  in  himself,  as  local 
dignitary,  umpire,  and  news  repository;  the  hail  fellow 
and  confidant  of  everybody,  who  cared  for  the  wounded 
and  fallen  after  the  knife  or  pistol  skirmish ;  himself, 
perhaps,  safe  behind  his  sand-bag  fortification.  The 
casualties  were  particularly  heavy  after  an  occasional 
dearth  of  whiskey,  from  interrupted  traffic  during  the 
winter.49  Notwithstanding  the  forbidding  aspect  of 
the  field,  temperance  advocates  were  present  as  early 
as  1849,  vainly  endeavoring  to  curb  the  passion  by 

Public  gambling  flourished  as  a  legally  authorized 
vice  at  all  saloons,  yet  its  prevalence  led  in  the  cities 
to  the  establishment  of  special  gambling-houses. 
Mining,  being  itself  a  chance  occupation,  gave  here  an 
additional  impulse  to  the  pastime,  which  some  culti 
vated  as  a  mental  stimulant,  others  as  an  anaesthetic. 
With  easy  acquisition  losses  were  less  poignant.  In 
San  Francisco  the  plaza  was  the  centre  of  these  re 
sorts,  with  the  El  Dorado  saloon  as  the  dividing  point 
between  the  low  places  to  the  north  and  the  select 
clubs  southward.51  Gay  flags  and  streamers  and  de 
coy  lamps  strike  the  eye  from  a  distance;  within  a 
blaze  of  light  reveals  a  moving  silhouette  of  figures. 

49  It  can  readily  be  understood  that  such  general  devotion  to  the  cause 
must  have  brought  forth  many  innovations  and  inventions  in  the  range  of 
drinks.  For  instances,  I  refer  to  Overland,  July  1875,  80-1;  May  1874,  477; 
Aug.  1868,  146;  Helper's  Land  of  Gold,  66.  Also,  Saxons  Five  Years,  26; 
Cat.  Pilgrim,  54,  136;  Maynes  B.  Col,  163;  Cremonys  Apache,  348. 

60  A  meeting  at  S.  F.  is  recorded  in  A Ua  Cal,  Jan.  25,  1849.  At  Sacra 
mento  a  society  was  formed  in  1850.  Sac.  Illust.,  13;  Sac.  Direct.,  1871,  76; 
Pac.  News,  May  16,  21,  Dec.  24,  1850. 

51lhe  leading  resorts  of  1849-50  embraced  the  Rendezvous,  Bella  Union, 
Verandah,  Parker  house  (one  floor  in  it),  Aguila  de  Oro,  Empire,  the  latter 
opened  in  May  1850,  being  140  feet  long,  and  finely  frescoed. 


The  abode  of  fortune  seeks  naturally  to  eclipse  all 
other  saloons  in  splendor;  and  indeed,  the  mirrors  are 
larger,  the  paintings  more  costly,  and  the  canvased 
walls  adorned  with  brighter  figures.  At  one  end  is 
the  indispensable  drinking-bar,  at  the  other  a  gallery 
for  the  orchestra,  from  which  loud  if  not  harmonious 
music  floats  upon  the  murky  atmosphere  laden  with 
fumes  of  smoke  and  foul  breaths.52  These  and  other 
attractions  are  employed  to  excite  the  senses,  and 
break  down  all  barriers  before  the  strongest  tempta 
tion,  the  piles  of  silver  and  gold  in  coin  and  dust,  and 
glittering  lumps  which  border  the  leather-covered 
gaming-tables,  sometimes  a  dozen  in  number.  From 
different  directions  is  heard  the  cry,  "Make  your  bets, 
gentlemen!"  midst  the  hum  and  the  chink  of  coin. 
"The  game  is  made,"  and  a  hush  of  strained  expect 
ancy  attends  the  rolling  ball  or  the  turning  cards; 
then  a  resumption  of  the  murmur  and  the  jingling,  as 
the  stakes  are  counted  out  or  raked  in  by  the  croupier. 
Gamblers  and  spectators  form  several  lines  in  depth 
round  the  tables;  broadcloth,  pea-jacket,  and  woollen 
shirt  side  by  side,  merchant  and  laborer,  dandy  and 
shoeblack,  and  even  the  whilom  pastor  or  deacon  of 
the  church.  Some  moving  from  group  to  group  are 
bent  merely  on  watching  faces  and  fickle  fortune,  till, 
seized  by  desire,  they  yield  to  the  excitement  and 
join  in  the  infatuation.  Once  initiated,  the  slow  game 
of  calculation  in  money  matters  which  has  hitherto 
sufficed  for  pastime,  falls  before  the  stirring  pulsation 
imparted  by  quickly  alternating  loss  and  gain.  The 

IT  »/        A  v  O 

chief  games  were  faro,  preferred  by  Americans  and 
Britons;  monte,  beloved  of  the  Latin  race;53  roulette, 

52  At  the  Aguila  de  Oro  Ethiopian  serenaders  added  to  the  attraction.  An 
other  boasted  a  Mexican  quintette  of  guitars.  The  later  Chinese  resorts  had 
symbols,  etc.  According  to  Torres,  Penp.,  99,  a  brother  of  Gen.  Ben.  Butler 
kept  one  of  these  places;  expenses  $500  a  night,  leaving  large  profits.  The 
El  Dorado  kept  a  female  violinist.  Taylor's  El  Dorado,  i.  118. 

63  For  this  game  were  used  Spanish  cards,  48  in  a  pack,  the  ten  being  lack 
ing.  There  were  frequently  two  dealers  at  opposite  ends  of  the  table,  each 
with  a  bank  pile  of  $5,000  or  $10,000.  Ihe  mere  matching  of  two  cards, 
sometimes  four,  the  game  being  decided  by  the  first  similar  card  drawn 
from  the  pack,  would  seem  to  afford  facilities  for  trickery,  while  certain  con 
ditions  ruled  ia  favor  of  the  banker. 


rouge-et-noir,  rondo,  vingt-et-un,  paire-ou-non,  trente- 
et-quarante,  and  chuck-a-luck  with  dice.54  The  stakes 
ranged  usually  between  fifty  cents  and  five  dollars, 
but  rose  frequently  to  $500  and  $1,000,  while  amounts 
as  high  as  $45,000  are  spoken  of  as  being  risked  upon 
the  turn  of  a  card.55  The  most  reckless  patrons  were 
richly  laden  miners,  who  instead  of  pursuing  their 
intended  journey  homeward,  surrendered  here  their 
hard-earned  wealth,  and  returned  sadder,  if  not  wiser, 
to  fresh  toils  and  hardships.  The  most  impassive  as 
well  as  constant  gamblers  were  the  Mexicans,  who, 
otherwise  so  readily  excited,  could  lose  their  all  with 
out  betraying  an  emotion;  while  sober-faced  Ameri 
cans,  who,  though  they  might  crack  a  grim  joke  over 
their  misfortune,  ill  concealed  their  disappointment 
over  losses.  In  the  one  case  there  was  a  fatalistic 
submission  to  the  inevitable ;  in  the  other  the  player 
would  not  yield  his  entire  personality  to  the  fickle 
goddess.  Although  in  the  mining  camps  were  many 
honest  gamblers,  yet  play  there  was  oftentimes  riot 
ous  and  attended  by  swindling,  and  a  consequent 
appeal  to  weapons ;  in  the  towns  the  system  of  licens 
ing  what  was  then  deemed  an  unavoidable  evil  tended 
to  preserve  decorum.56  An  air  of  respectability  was 
further  imparted  by  the  appearance  of  the  professional 

54  At  the  street  corners  were  thimble-rig  and  other  delusive  guess  games. 
The  rent  for  a  table  was  heavy,  as  may  be  judged  from  the  fact  that  the 
greater  part  of  the  income  from  the  Parker  house,  at  one  time  $15,000  a 
month,  came  from  the  one  gambling  floor.     Half  of  the  gamblers  used  to  pay 
$1,000  per  month  for  a  table,  says  McCollum.  Cal.,  61. 

55  A  bag  of  dust,  $16,000  in  value,  was  one  evening  covered  by  a  faro  dealer 
without  a  murmur.  Annals  S.  F,,  249      The  editor  of  Placer  Times,  Mar.  9, 
1850,  claims  to  have  known  of  bets  of  $32,000  and  $45,000  at  monte.     On  one 
occasion  the  money  in  bank  on  monte  tables  exceeded  $200,000,  and  more 
than  that  was  at  stake  in  other  games.  Home  Missionary,  xxvii.  160.     Woods 
relates  that  a  lawyer  once  swept  three  tables  in  succession.     A  young  man 
just  arrived,  and  en  route  to  the  mines,  borrowed  $10  and  approached  a  faro- 
table.     By  the  following  morning  he  had  won  $7,000,  with  which  he  returned 
by  next  steamer,  determined  never  to  play  again.     Davidson,  the  banker, 
said  that  some  professed  gamblers  used  to  remit  home  an  average  of  $17,000 
a  month.  Sixteen  Mo.,  75.     Among  other  instances  of  gains  was  one  of  $100,- 
000  by  a  man  who  started  with  $5,000.     After  losing  half  of  his  winnings  he 
stopped,  bought  a  steamer  ticket,  and  went  home.  Placer  Times,  Mar.  9,  1850. 
The  record  of  losses,  however,  is  a  thousand  to  one  greater,  hundreds  of  cases 
being  cited  where  the  miner  en  route  for  home  staked  his  all  and  lost. 

66  At  S.  F.  the  permit  cost  $50  per  month,  with  $25  extra  for  each  Sunday. 


gamblers,  who  greatly  affected  dress,  although  with  a 
predilection  for  display.  With  the  growth  of  home 
influence  the  pastime  began  to  fall  into  disrepute,  and 
in  September  1850  San  Francisco  took  the  first  step 
toward  its  suppression  by  forbidding  the  practice  on 
Sundays.57  An  insidious  and  long-countenanced  ad 
junct  to  the  vice  flourished  in  the  form  of  lotteries,  which 
were  carried  on  with  frequent  drawings,  especially  at 
holiday  seasons,  as  a  regular  business,  as  well  as  a 
casual  means  for  getting  rid  of  worthless  or  unprofit 
able  goods.  Jewelry  formed  the  main  attraction, 
but  articles  of  all  classes  were  embraced,  even  land, 
wharves,  and  pretentious  buildings.58 

67  Cat.  Courier,  Sept.  14,  1850  Some  of  the  hotels  assisted  by  excluding 
its  public  practice,  as  the  Union.  S.  F.  Picayune,  Nov.  26,  1850.  Yet  it  was 
not  till  1855  that  absolute  restrictive  measures  were  taken.  So  far  gambling 
debts  were  recoverable.  Alta  CaL,  Apr.  17,  1855;  Sac.  Transcript,  Feb.  14, 
1851.  In  Jan.  1848  an  order  to  permit  games  of  chance  was  vetoed  in  S.  F. 
Calif ornian,  Jan.  12,  1848;  penalty  $10  to  $50,  but  a  repeal  came  quickly. 
Sac.  Union,  May  21,  1856;  Pac.  News,  Feb.  14,  1851,  refers  to  the  arrest  of 

58  E.  P.  Jones  held  a  real  estate  lottery  in  the  autumn  of  1850,  with  4,000 
tickets  at  $100.  The  500  lots  offered  as  prizes  embraced  valuable  central  city 
land.  In  Oct.  1850  H.  Howison  sought  to  pay  his  debts  and  avoid  a  sacrifice 
of  property  by  offering  his  wharf  with  9  stores  and  10  offices,  renting  for 
$5,000  a  month,  besides  two  water  lots  with  a  store-ship,  for  $200,000,  in 
2,000  shares  at  $100.  The  prominent  St  Francis  hotel  was  offered  the  same 
month.  Pac.  News,  Oct.  19,  Nov.  8,  13,  1850.  A  regular  lottery  firm  was 
Tucker  &  Reeves.  By  advertisement  in  Cal.  Courier,  etc.,  of  Dec.  17,  1850, 
$20,000  worth  of  jewelry  was  offered.  Their  usual  first  prize  was  a  gold  ingot 
of  from  $6,000  to  $8,000  in  value.  In  1853  Reeves  offered  stuff  valued  at 
$30,000  at  $1  tickets.  In  Sacramento  the  Pacific  theatre  and  99  other  pieces 
of  real  estate  were  offered  in  1850.  These  real  estate  and  other  raffles,  as 
they  were  sometimes  termed,  encroached  seriously  on  legitimate  business 
The  California  Lottery  and  Hayes  &  Bailey  figure  in  the  1850  list  of  lottery 
firms.  See  journals  of  Dec.,  any  early  year.  Further  references  to  gambling 
in  Carson  s  Early  Days,  29;  Kelly's  Excursion,  ii.  245-7;  Winans  Stat.,  MS., 
5-6;  Hittell's  S.  F.,  235-7;  Upham's  Notes,  235-6;  Helper's  Land  of  Gold, 
71-3;  Lambertie,  Voy.,  204-6;  Coke's  Ride,  355-7;  Frignet,  CaZ.,94,  117;  Lett's 
CaL,  48-50;  CaL  Past  and  Present,  163;  Neall's  Vig.,  MS.,  25-8;  Garniss* 
Early  Days,  MS.,  15-16;  Bartlett's  Stat.,  MS.,  3,  14;  Armstrong's  Exper., 
MS.,  8;  Delano's  Life,  289-90;  Willey's  Thirty  Years,  39;  McDaniels'  Early 
Days,  49-50;  Farnham's  CaL,  271-4;  Roach's  Stat.,  MS.,  9;  Button's  Stat.,  MS., 
10;  Cerruti's  Ramblings,  MS.,  25-7;  Hutchings'  Mag.,  i.  215;  iii.  374;  SchmiedelCs 
Stat.,  MS.,  4;  Cassins  Stat.,  MS.,  10-12;  Merrill's  Stat.,  MS.,  9-10;  Van 
Dyke's  Stat.,  MS.,  3;  Miscel.  Stat.,  MS.,  13-14;  Home  Miss.,  xxiii.  209; 
Conway's  Early  Days,  MS.,  1-2;  CaL  Ilust.,  44,  99,  130;  CaL  Pilgrim,  243; 
Overland,  Nov.  1871;  Feb.  1872;  Shaw's  Golden  Dreams,  42;  S.  F.  Herald, 
Apr.  7,  18.52;  S.  F.  Bulletin,  Sept.  15,  25,  Dec.  4,  1856.  The  Mexicans  called 
gamblers  gremio  de  Virjan.  Torres,  Perip.,  100.  According  to  Sac.  Direc 
tory,  1853-4,  6-7,  two  clergymen  could  be  seen  at  the  hells,  one  as  dealer. 
HIST.  CAL.,  VOL.  VI.  16 

242  SOCIETY. 

The  taste  for  other  pastimes  rose  little  above  the 
preceding,  as  might  be  expected  from  a  community  of 
men  bent  on  adventure.  The  bull-fighting  of  pre-con- 
quest  times  found  such  favor,  that,  not  content  with  the 
two  arenas  already  existing  at  the  mission,  San  Fran 
cisco  constructed  two  more  within  her  own  limits.59 
Here  it  flourished  under  official  sanction  throughout 
the  fifties,60  but  invested  with  few  of  the  attractions 
which  have  tended  to  maintain  its  popularity  elsewhere, 
such  as  knightly  matadores,  pugnacious  bulls,  and  a 
fashionable  attendance.  American  women  never  took 
kindly  to  the  butchery,  California  excelled  in  one 
feature,  however,  the  spectacle  of  a  fight  between  bull 
and  bear,  if  the  usually  tame  contest  could  be  digni 
fied  by  that  term.61  In  cock-fighting  the  new-comers 
had  little  to  learn  from  the  Mexicans,  although  with 
these  the  diversion  stood  under  high  patronage;  but 
they  could  offer  novelties  in  the  form  of  regattas,  and 
the  less  commendable  prize-fighting,62  and  in  horse  and 
foot  racing  they  soon  carried  off  the  honors.63 

The  great  resort  on  Sundays  and  holidays  was  the 
mission,  with  its  creek,  gardens,  and  arenas,  and  its 
adjoining  hills  and  marshes  which  offered  for  hunters  an 
attractive  field.  The  ride  out  was  in  itself  an  enjoy- 

59  One  on  Vallejo  st,  at  the  western  foot  of  Telegraph  hill;  another  amphi 
theatre  was  erected  near  Washington  square.  S.  F  Herald,  Aug.   10,   1850; 
8.  F.  Directory,  1850,  126. 

60  8.  F.  Bulletin  of  Aug.  18,  1859,  describes  a  fight.     For  scenes  and  inci 
dents,  I  refer  to  my  California  Pastoral. 

61  Bruin  usually  took  a  defensive  attitude,  with  his  attention  riveted  on 
the  bull's  nose.     In  fights  between  bears  and  dogs,  the  latter  generally  fell 
back  shaken  and  squeezed.  Pac.  News,  May  17-18,   1850;  Sac.  Transcript, 
Oct.  14,  1850;  Barry  and  Patten's  Men  and  Mem.,  251.     Even  Marysville  and 
other  northern  towns  indulged  in  the  sport.  Kelly's  Excurs.,  ii.  248-9. 

62  Several  notable  encounters  took  place  before  the  great  contests  of  Mor- 
rissey  in  1852.  Pac.  News,  Oct.  17,  1850;  Gal  Courier,  Jan.  1,  4,  Oct.  18,  28, 
1850;  Dec.  13,  1849. 

63  Although  not  decisively  until  1852,  when  Australian  horses  were  intro 
duced,  as  related  by  A.  A.  Green  of  aldermanic  fame,  who  claims  the  credit 
of  constructing  in  1850  the  first  regular  track  in  S.  F.,  between  20th  and  24th 
streets,  at  the  so-called  Pavilion,  the  later  Red  house.    In  the  interior,  camps 
and  towns  pitted   horses  against  one  another.     Foot-races  by  professionals 
were  usually  against  time;  amateurs  often  ran  in  the  usual  way.   Califorman, 
Mar.  4,  15,  1848;  Alta  Cal,  Mar.  25,  Sept.   15,    1851.     In  Halts  Hist.,  232, 
is  mentioned  a  race  at  S.  Jose  for  $10,000,  a  man  running  against  a  Sonoma 


ment,  notwithstanding  the  intervening  and  ofttimes 
wind-whipped  sand  hills,  and  on  festive  occasions  the 
place  was  crowded.  The  lack  of  ready  communication 
with  the  opposite  shores  of  the  bay  confined  the  people 
to  the  peninsula  for  a  time,  only  to  render  the  more 
demonstrative  the  revelry  called  for  by  feast  days  and 
other  joyous  occasions,  with  volleys,  crackers,  illumina 
tions,  and  fanciful  parades,  with  caricatures  and  squibs 
upon  officials,  followed  by  banquets  and  balls,  the 
latter  stimulated  by  the  chilly  evenings  and  frequent 

The  first  public  dramatic  performances  are  claimed 
for  the  United  States  garrison  at  Sonoma  in  September 
1 847,  and  for  an  amateur  company,  chiefly  Spanish  Cal- 
ifornians,  at  San  Francisco.65  About  the  same  time 
some  of  the  New  York  volunteers  gave  minstrel  en 
tertainments  at  Santa  Barbara  and  Monterey.66  The 
gold  excitement  diverted  attention  from  the  drama  in 
1848,67  but  by  the  following  year  professionals  from 
abroad  had  arrived  to  supply  the  reviving  demand, 
and  on  June  22,  1849,  Stephen  C.  Massett  opened  a 
series  of  entertainments  with  a  concert  at  the  plaza 
school-house,  including  songs,  recitations,  and  mimicry, 
with  piano  accompaniment.68  On  October  29th,  Howe's 

64  A  masquerade  ball  of  Feb.  22,  1845,  is  described  in  the  Catifornzan. 
Admission  to  some  of  the  balls  of  1849-50  was  $25,  and  more.  Placer  Times, 
Apr.  22,  1850.     The  pioneers  held  a  formal  new-year's  celebration  in  1851. 
July  4th  always  received  its  fiery  ovation,  partly  by  the  use  of  half -buried 
quicksilver  flasks.     St  Patrick's  day  and  May  day  were  early  introduced  by 
the  Irish  and  Germans.     The  thanksgiving  day  of  1849  was  fixed  for  Nov.  29th 
without  official  proclamation,  observes  Williams,  Stat,,   MS,,  12-13.     New 
England  dinners  found  favor,  and  pilgrims1  landing  day  touched  a  correspond 
ing  chord.     St  Andrews  and  other  societies  added  their  special  days.  Roach's 
Stat.t  MS.,  3;  Pac.  Neios,  May  3,  Nov.  6,  30,  1850;  Jan.  11,  Apr,  1,  1851;  S.  F. 
Picayune,  Oct.  30,  1850,  etc.;  Col.  Courier,  Sept.  14,  Nov.  27,  Dec,  2,  1850; 
Jan.  3,  Feb.  1,  1851;  A  Ita  Col.,  passim. 

65  Which  gave  the  Morayma,  relating  to  the  wars  of  Granada.  See  Cali- 
fornian,  Oct,  6,  1847;  May  10,  Nov.  4,   1848;  and  my  preceding  vol.,  v.  667. 
The  same  journal  alludes  to  the  Eagle  Olympic  club  association  for  plays  and 
subscriptions  for  a  theatre    Polynesian,  v.  111. 

^Details  in  S.  Jose  Pioneer,  May  4,  1878.  A  writer  in  Solano  Press,  Dec. 
11,  1867,  declares  that  they  first  performed  at  S.  F.  in  March  1847,  the  first 
night's  receipts  being  $63. 

67  The  Virginia  minstrels  played  with  success  during  the  winter,  Star  and 
•CaL,  Dec.  9,  1848,  and  other  amateur  efforts  may  be  traced 

68  Admission  $3,  which  yielded  over  $500.    The  crowded  audience  contained 

244  SOCIETY, 

Olympic  circus  appeared  at  San  Francisco,69  with 
prices  at  two  and  three  dollars. 

The  first  professional  dramatic  performance  took 
place  at  Sacramento  on  October  18,  1849,  in  the  Eagle 
theatre,70  a  frail  structure  which  was  soon  eclipsed 
by  the  Tehama.  At  San  Francisco  the  season  began 
at  Washington  hall,  early  in  185Q.71  Five  weeks 
later  the  first  theatre  building,  the  National,  was 
opened,72  followed  among  others  by  Robinson  and 
Everard's  Dramatic  Museum,73  Dr  Collyer's  Athe 
naeum,  with  prurient  model  artist  exhibitions,74  and 

only  four  women.  Programme  reproduced  in  Annals  S.  P.,  656;  Upham's 
Notes,  271-2.  The  piano  is  here  claimed  as  the  only  one  in  the  country,  but 
a  writer  in  S.  Jost  Pwn.,  Dec.  1,  1877,  shows  by  letters  that  four  pianos 
were  at  S.  F,  early  in  1847,  besides  the  common  guitars  and  harps.  Territ. 
Pioneers,  First  An.,  75. 

69  On  Kearny  st  south  of  Clay  st.  Boxes  cost  $10.  The  performances 
began  at  7  P.  M  ,  and  embraced  the  usual  circus  features,  as  given  in  Alta 
Col.  of  following  day.  This  the  first  play  bill  is  reproduced  in  Id.,  Oct.  29, 
1864.  The  circiis  closed  Jan.  17,  1850,  to  reopen  as  an  amphitheatre  on  Feb. 
4th,  with  drama,  farce,  and  ring  performance.  The  Annals  S.  F.,  236,  calls 
it  a  tent  holding  1,200  or  1,500  people,  and  places  the  prices  at  $3,  $5,  and 
$55.  Previous  to  this,  on  Oct.  22d,  says  McCabe,  in  Territ.  Pioneers,  ubisup., 
the  Philadelphia  minstrela  commenced  a  season  at  Bella  Union  hall,  tickets 
$2,  and  in  Dec.  1849  the  Pacific  minstrels  prepared  to  play  at  Washington 
hall,  but  were  prevented  by  fire. 

™  A  frame  30  feet  by  95  covered  with  canvas,  metal-roofed,  on  Front  st, 
between  I  and  J  st,  which  cost  $75,000.  Admission  $2  and  $3.  The  company 
embraced  J.  B.  Atwater,  C.  B.  Price,  H.  F.  Daley,  J.  H.  McCabe,  H.  Ray 
and  wife,  T.  Fairchild,  J.  Harris,  Lt  A.  W.  Wright,  whose  salaries  ranged 
from  $60  per  night  for  Atwater,  to  $60  per  week  for  Daley.  Mrs  Ray,  with 
husband,  commanded  $275  per  week,  including  expenses.  McCabe,  in  Ternt. 
Pioneers,  First  An.,  72-5.  The  total  nightly  expense  was  $600.  Bayard 
Taylor,  Eldorado,  ii  31-2,  is  rather  severe  on  the  performance.  The  season 
and  theatre  closed  Jan.  4,  1850.  The  Bandit  Chief  is  mentioned  as  the 
opening  piece.  The  Tehama  theatre  opened  soon  after  under  management 
of  Mrs  Kirby,  later  Mrs  Stark.  Soc.  Illust.,  12-13;  S.  Jose  Pioneer,  Dec.  13, 
1877.  The  Pacific  theatre  is  nearly  completed,  observes  Placer  Times,  Apr. 
13,  1850. 

71  Jan.  16th,  near  N.  w.  corner  of  Kearny  and  Washington,  by  the  Eagle 
theatre  company  of  Sacramento,  whence  also  this  name  for  the  hall,   later 
Foley's.  Pac.  News,  Jan.   17,   1850.     Allen  and  Boland  figure  on  the  pro 
gramme,  which  presented  The  Wife,  and  the  farce  Sentinel;  McCabe  has 
Charles  II.  as  an  after-piece.     Tickets  $3. 

72  On  the  site  of  the  latter  Maguire's,  Washington  st.     It  was  built  of 
brick;  opened  by  a  French  company,  and  burned  May  4th.     It  was  replaced 
by  the  Italian  theatre,  opened  Sept.  12,  1850,  at  the  corner  of  Jackson  and 
Kearny  sts,  by  a  similar  company.     The  short-lived  Phoenix  theatre  was  in 
augurated  March  23d.     The  following  day  the  Phoenix  exchange,  on  the 
plaza,  presented  model  artists. 

13  On  the  north  side  of  California  st,  west  of  Kearny  st,  with  partly 
amateur  talent.  Everard,  known  for  his  Yankee  r6les,  often  assumed  female 
garb.  CassinsStat.,  MS.,  16. 

7iOu  Commercial  st;  tickets  $1. 


the  famed  Jenny  Lind  theatre,  opened  in  October 
1850,  on  the  plaza.75  The  resorts  which  had  so  far 
escaped  were  swept  away  by  the  conflagrations  of 
May  and  June  1851,  yet  new  edifices  rose  agrin  with 
little  delay.  The  flush  times  of  a  gold  country  brought 
many  sterling  actors,  such  as  Stark,  Atwater,  Kirby, 
Bingham,  Thorne  Sr,  who  also  made  their  bow  at 
interior  towns,76  but  inferior  talent  preponderated  in 
the  race  for  patronage,77  the  blood  and  thunder  variety 
gaining  favor,  especially  in  the  mining  region,  where 
the  mere  appearence  of  a  woman,  sufficed  in  early  days 
to  insure  success.'8  The  general  effect  of  the  drama 
was  nevertheless  good,  partly  from  the  moral  lessons 
conveyed,  but  mainly  as  a  diversion  from  gambling 
and  drinking  resorts.79  By  1851  there  was  scarcely  a 
town  of  1,OOC  inhabitants  without  its  hall  for  enter 
tainments.  Mere  instrumental  proficiency  was  not  so 
widely  appreciated,80  but  female  vocalists  with  sym 
pathetic  voices  and  stirring  home  melodies  never  failed 
to  evoke  applause  which  not  unfrequently  came  at 
tended  by  a  shower  of  oresents, 81 

t5  Which  eventually  after  many  transformations  "became  what  is  now 
known  as  the  old  city  hall,  and  which,  indeed,  is  the  third  Jenny  Lind  struc 
ture,  the  first  having  been  burned  on  May  4,  1850,  together  with  several 
«ther  resorts,  and  the  second  in  June  following.  Mde  Korsinsky  from  Na 
ples  opened,  the  first  on  Oct.  28th,  assisted  by  singers,  magicians,  etc.  Adelphi 
and  Foley's  ainpliitheatre  were  inaugurated  in  Nov.  and  Dec.,  respectively, 
t*ie  former  on  Clay  st,  the  other  on  the  plaza.  The  next  important  edifice 
•was  the  American  theatre  on  Sansome  st,  north  of  Sacramento  st,  which 
belongs  to  1851,  Vallejo  hall  was  used  for  parties. 

76  Bingham  inaugurated  a  season  at  Stockton,  in  the  Stockton  house,  as 
sisted  by  Snow  of  Mormon  fame.  ZrCloskey,  in  S.  Jose  Pioneer,  Dec.  13,  1877; 
Placer  Times,  Apr.  13, 1850.     He  abo  opened  the  regulr.r  season  at  Monterey. 
Monterey  Herald,  Feb.  13,  1875.     Robinson  did  so  at  Nevada  in  June.  Grass 

VaL  Direct.,  1856,  20-^30. 

77  In  Dec.   1850  the  museum  reduced  prices  one  half,  although  this  had 
only  a  partial  effect  elsewhere. 

18  As  Taylor,  Eldorado,  ii.  31-2,  found  even  at  Sacramento.  A  Swiss 
girl  here  collected  $4,000  within  six  months.  Organ  grinders  started  their 
nuisance  at  S.  F.  in  Apr.  1850.  Pac,  Neics,  Apr.  30,  1850.  A  pioneer  in  the 
Oakland  Transcript,  Feb.  27, 1872,  gives  some  leading  names  in  the  profession. 
Marry  and  Patten,  Men  and  Mem.,  213. 

J9By  ordinance  of  Sept  14,  1850,  the  city  authorities  sought  to  close  even 
theatres  on  Sundays,  but  the  attempt  was  not  successful.  Sherman,  Mem., 
i.  23,  refers  to  passion  plays  in  connection  wi^h  churches. 

M  To  judge  by  the  reception  in  1C~0  of  the  pianist  Herz,  though  highly 
praised  by  the  Placer  Times,  Apr.  22,  1850,  etc.  Other  concerts  took  place  in 
Jan.  and  ApriL 

£1  Gold  pieces  of  $10,  $20,  and  $50  in  value  came  raining  down,  says  Gar- 

246  SOCIETY. 

Sunday  became  identified  with  enjoyment  rather 
than  solemn  devotion.  The  voyage  out  had  sufficed 
to  break  down  puritanical  habits.  In  the  camps, 
after  a  week's  arduous  pursuit  of  gold,  the  day  was 
welcomed  for  rest,  yet  not  for  repose.  Mending 
clothes,  washing,  baking,  and  letter-writing  occupied 
one  part  of  it ;  then  came  marketing  with  attendant 
conviviality,  the  harvest  for  traders,  saloon-keepers,  and 
their  ilk.  This  routine,  more  or  less  prevalent  also  in 
the  towns,  left  little  leisure  for  the  duties  of  religion, 
which  for  that  matter  were  generally  postponed  for 
the  return  home.  In  the  interior  the  necessary  leaders 
were  lacking,  and  the  fear  of  ridicule  from  a  rollicking- 
crowd  restrained  non-professional  devotees.  Among 
the  multitudes  of  the  cities,  however,  the  clergyman 
was  present,  and  could  always  count  upon  a  number 
of  sedate  folk  who  in  church  attendance  found  refresh 
ing  comfort.  The  influence  of  this  class,  embracing  as 
it  did  employers  and  family  men,  aided  by  the  mag 
netism  of  woman,  succeeded  by  the  middle  of  1850  in 
establishing  seven  places  of  worship,  and  in  extending 
Sabbath  observance,  in  connection  with  which  educa 
tion,  literature,  and  art  received  a  beneficent  impulse.82 

The  admission  of  California  into  the  union  tended 
to  stamp  improvements  with  the  strengthening  tone  of 
permanency.  With  unfolding  resources  and  growing 

niss,  Early  Days,  MS.,  15,  81-9,  although  smaller  pieces  were  more  common. 
When  Kate  Hayes  gave  concerts  in  the  winter  of  1851,  the  first  tickets 
at  Sac.  and  S.  F.  sold  for  $1,200  and  $1,125,  respectively.  Alia  Cal.  Feb.  9, 
1853.  It  was  proposed  to  subscribe  $500,000  for  bringing  hither  Jenny 
Lind.  Pac.  News,  Jan.  23,  1851.  Lecturers  fared  well.  J.  S.  Hittell  ap 
peared  as  a  phrenologist  in  Dec.  1850.  Cat.  Courier,  Dec.  2,  1850.  Additional 
references  to  amusements  in  Id.,  March  31,  1851.  McCabe,  Territ.  Pioneers, 
First  An.,  75-8,  adds  some  valuable  details  on  early  amusements.  Pac.  News, 
Oct.  1849-50,  passim;  Cal.  Scraps,  Amuse.,  5,  253,  etc.;  Winans'  Stat.,  MS., 
13;  BorthwlcVs  Cal.,  77,  289,  334,  357;  Earll'g  Sfat.,  MS.,  6;  S.  F.  Post,  Feb. 
10,  1S76;  Sfa  Cruz  Sentinel,  Feb.  20,  1875;  Shaw's  Golden  Dreams,  203;  Lloyd's 
Lijhte  and  Shades,  146-54.  Torres,  Perip ,  145,  comments  on  the  means  to 
supply  the  scarcity  of  actresses.  Annals  S.  F.,  655,  etc.;  8.  F.  Chronicle,  Sept. 
9, 1378. 

82  All  of  which  will  be  considered  in  later  chapters.  In  Nov.  1849  dray 
men,  among  others,  resolved  to  abstain  from  Sunday  work  when  possible. 
-Pac.  News,  Nov.  10,  1849.  It  took  some  years  before  the  smaller  towns 
cov.ld  be  made  to  adopt  similar  resolutions.  See  Calavera»  Chronicle,  Feb. 


population  came  greater  traffic,  increased  and  varied 
supplies,  *  and  new  industries,  comforts,  and  conven 
iences  of  every  grade. 

The  progression  made  by  California  during  the  first 
two  years  of  the  golden  era  is  remarkable,  not  only  for 
its  individuality,  but  for  its  rapidity,  and  as  being 
taken  by  a  community  of  energetic  and  intelligent  men, 
aided  by  the  appliances  of  their  age.  The  main  con 
siderations  for  the  present  are  the  suddenness,  magni 
tude,  and  mixed  composition  of  the  gathering,  the 
predominating  and  marked  influence  of  Americans 
from  the  first,  and  the  peculiar  features  evolved  there 
from,  and  in  connection  with  the  adventurous  trip,  the 
mania  for  enrichment,  the  general  opulence,  sex  limita 
tion,  camp  life,  and  climate.  Note  especially  the  reck 
less  self-reliance  which  braved  hardship  and  dangers  by 
sea  and  land,  in  solitude  and  amidst  the  mongrel  crowd, 
and  marked  its  advance  by  upturned  valleys  and  ra 
vines;  by  the  deviated  course  of  rivers,  the  living  evi 
dence  of  settlements  and  towns  that  sprang  up  in  a 
day,  or  the  mute  eloquence  of  their  ruins;  by  the 
transformed  wilderness  and  the  busy  avenues  of  traffic ; 
by  thronged  roads  and  steam-furrowed  rivers.  Note 
the  lusty  exuberance  which  trod  down  obstacles  and 
lightly  treated  reverses ;  lightened  work  with  the  spirit 
of  play,  and  carried  play  into  extravagance,  and  all 
the  while  tempering  avarice  with  a  whole-souled  lib 
erality  Note  the  elevation  of  labor  and  equalization 
of  ranks,  which,  rejecting  empty  pretensions  and  exalt 
ing  honor  and  other  principles,  elevated  into  promi 
nence  the  best  natural  types  of  manhood,  physical  and 
mental,  for  the  strain  of  life  in  the  mines  demanded  a 
strong  frame  and  constitution,  and  in  other  fields  the 
prizes  fell  to  the  shrewd  and  energetic  This  wild 
game  and  gambol  could  not  pass  without  deplorable 
excesses,  but  even  these  had  a  manly  stamp.  Vice 
was  more  prominent  than  general,  however.  Deceived 
by  the  all-absorbing  loudness  of  its  aspect  and  outcry, 
writers  are  led  to  exaggerate  the  extent.  On  the 

248  SOCIETY. 

other  hand,  the  sudden  abundance  of  means  exploded 
economic  habits  in  general,  and  the  prevalence  of  high 
prices  and  speculative  ideas,  together  with  the  absence 
of  restraining  family  ties,  did  not  tend  to  promote 

In  this  short,  spirited  race  between  representatives 
of  all  nationalities  and  classes,  save  the  very  poor  and 
the  rich,  all  started  under  certain  primitive  conditions, 
unfettered  by  traditional  and  conventional  forms,  yet 
assisted  by  the  training  and  resources  derived  from 
their  respective  cultures.  Some  aimed  short-sightedly 
only  for  the  nearest  golden  stake,  and  this  gained,  a 
few  retired  contented;  most  of  them,  however,  con 
tinued  in  pursuit  of  ever-flitting  visions.  Others,  with 
more  forethought  and  enterprise,  enlisted  wider  agen 
cies,  organization,  machinery,  and  for  a  greater  goal ; 
and  seizing  other  opportunities  by  the  way,  they  mul 
tiplied  the  chances  of  success  in  different  directions. 
While  accustomed  to  subdue  the  wilderness,  Yankee 
character  and  institutions  have  here  demonstrated 
their  versatility  and  adaptiveness  under  somewhat 
different  conditions,  and  in  close  contest  with  those 
of  other  nationalities,  by  taking  the  decisive  lead  in 
evolving  from  magnificent  disorder  the  framework  for 
a  great  commonwealth,  the  progress  of  which  structure 
is  presented  in  the  succeeding  chapters.82 

82  For  fuller  and  additional  authorities  bearing  on  early  California  society, 
I  refer  to  Burnett's  Recoil,  of  Past,  MS.,  i.-ii.,  passim;  Bartlett's  Statement, 
MS.,  2-3,  7-9;  Barry  and  Pattens  Men  and  Mem.,  46,  61-92,  144-8,  223,  251, 
351;  Carson's  Early  Recoil,  21,  25-6,  29;  Janssen's  Vida  y  Av.,  198;  Arm 
strong's  '49  Experiences,  MS.,  8,  12;  Larkin's  Doc.,  vi.  41,  43,  51-2,  66,  144, 
172,  175,  195,  198;  vii.  92,  140,  206,  219,  231,  287,  338;  Clarke's  Statement, 
MS.,  1-2;  Hyde's  Hist.  Facts  on  Cat.,  MS.,  9-13;  Dow's  Vig.  Com.,  MS.,  2,  5; 
Davis'  Glimpses,  MS.,  265-78:  Farnham's  Cal,  22-7,  271^;  Fay's  Historical 
Facts,  MS.,  1-3,  10;  Fernandez,  Cal,  184,  189-92;  Annals  of  S.  F.,  passim; 
Du  Hailly,  in  Rev.  des  deux  Mondes,  Feb.  15,  1859,  932;  Bauer's  Statement, 
MS.,  2-3,  5;  Alger's  Young  Miner,  passim;  Bouton's  Cal.  Indians,  MS.;  Arch. 
Monterey  Co.,  xiv.  18;  Beadle's  Western  Wilds,  38;  Averill's  Life  in  Cal,  pas 
sim;  Bancroft's  Hand-book;  A  View  of  Cal.,  167;  Ariz.  Arch.,  iii.  297;  Antioch 
Ledger,  July  1,  1876;  Barstow's  Statement,  MS.,  1-4,  7-12;  Cal,  The  Digger's 
Hand-book,  7,  36-41,  49-54,  65-71;  Buffum's  Six  Montlis,  83-4,  117-18,  121, 
124;  Dutch  Flat  Enquirer,  Nov.  26,  1864;  Farwell's  Vig.  Com.,  MS.,  5;  John 
son's  Cal  and  Ogn,  96-209,  236,  244;  Kelly's  Excursion,  ii.  244-9;  Schmiedell's 
Statement,  MS.,  4-6,  145-6;  Frisbie's  Reminisc.,  MS.,  36-7;  Garniss'  Early 
Days  of  S.  F.,  MS,,.,  8-23,  29-32;  Frinlc's  Vig.  Cow.,  MS.,  25;  Bluxome's  Vig. 
Com.,  MS.,  1,  5;  Gefstacker,  Kreutz  und  Quer;  Kip's  Cal  Slcetclies,  18-19; 
Lambertie,  Voy.  Pittoresque,  202-9;  Lett's  Cat.  Illust.,  48-55,  70-129;  Alameda 


Reporter,  May  31,  1879;  Kanesv.,  Iowa,  Front  Guard,  May  16,  1849;  Feb.  -  , 
1850;  Polynesian,  iv.  102,  183,  207;  v.-vii.,  passim;  Merrills  Statement,  MS., 
2-6,  9-10;  Lavxoris  Autobiog.,  MS.,  11-17;  Currey's  Incidents,  M.S.,  4,  8;  Fre 
mont's  Year  Amer.  Travel,  66-8,  98-103,  112-13,  148;  Brook*  Four  Months, 
83,  201-2;  Doolittle's  Statement,  MS.,  21-2;  Drinkwater,  in  M iscel.  Statement*, 
1-2;  Gillespies  Vig.  Com.,  MS.,  1-6;  Carson  City  Trib.,  Sept.  23,  1879;  Chico 
Enterprise,  Aug.  8,  1879;  Bryant's  What  I  Saw  in  Col.,  427;  Schenck's  Vig. 
Com.,  MS.,  14,  16,  20,  22,  44-8;  Earll's  Statement,  MS.,  6,  8-10;  Cox's  Annals 
of  Trinity  Co.,  62-3;  Conway's  Early  Days  in  California,  MS.,  1-2;  Brewers 
jReminisc.,  MS.,  35-7;  Helpers  Land  of  Gold,  36-9,  47,  63-75,  82-4,  144,  158, 
167-9,  237-53;  Delano's  Life,  249-54,  289-90,  365;  Grimshaw's  Narrative,  MS., 
14;  Borthwick's  Three  Years  in  Cal,  46-67,  77,  83-5,  127,  151-4,  165-6,  289, 
334,  357-74;  Hancock's  Thirteen  Years,  MS.,  119-20;  Hall's  Hist.,  232;  Green's 
Life  and  Adv.,  MS.,  17,  19;  Guide  to  Cal.,  80-132,  157;  Kirkpatrick's  Journal, 
14-16;  Gold  Hill  News,  Nov.  29,  1867;  Geary,  in  Miscel.  Statements,  5;  Haw- 
leys  Observations,  MS.,  5,  9-10;  Boltvn  vs  U.  S.,  App.  to  Brief,  99-101;  Bing- 
ham,  in  Solano  Co.  Hist.,  333;  Damerons  Autobiog.,  22-3;  Hunt's  Merch.  Mag., 
xx.  458;  xxi.  136;  xxii.  696;  xxxi.  114,  386;  Los  Aug.  Star,  May  14,  1870; 
King'sReptonCal.,1,  215;  Hittell,  in  Dietz  Our  Boys,  166-8,  174-7,  179;  Brown's 
Statement,  MS.,  14;  Deans  Statement,  MS.,  1-2;  MarinCo.  Hist.,  121;  Masons 
Kept;  Masxett's  Exper.  of  a  '49er,  10;  Bennett,  in  Sawtelle's  Pioneers,  5;  Ward's 
Letter  of  Aug.  1,  1849,  in  New  York  Courier  and  Enquirer;  Nevada  Journal, 
Dec.  19,  1856;  Nevada  Gaz.,  May  2,  1864;  Sonora  Union  Dem.,  Sept.  29,  1877; 
Morse,  in  Direct.  Sac.,  1853-4,  5-10;  Berkeley  Advocate,  Dec.  25,  1879;  Cray's 
Vig.  Com.,  MS.,  1;  Costa  R.,  Ail.  and  Pac.  R.  R.,  7-16;  Hi'tbner's  Ramble 
around  the  World,  146;  New  West,  342;  Evans'  A  la  California,  226,  236,  272, 
359,  etc. ;  Dilke's  Greater  Britain,  209,  228-32;  Red  Bluff  Sentinel,  June  14, 
1873;  New  and  Old,  35,  37,  69;  McCollums  Cal  as  I  Saw  It,  33-6,  60-3;  Danas 
Two  Years,  432;  Nidever's  Life  and  Adv.,  MS.,  139;  Low's  Observations,  MS., 
4-7;  Hutchings'  Illust.  Cal.  Mag.,  i.  33,  78,  83,  215,  300,  416,  464;  ii.  401;  iii. 
60,  129,  210,  254;  v.  297,  334-7;  HoUnski,  La  Cal.,  108-10,  136;  Benton,  in 
Hayes'  Scraps,  Cal.  Notes,  v.  60;  Biglers  Diary,  MS.,  77-9;  S.  1.  Friend,  vi. 
16,  24,  32,  40,  48,  56,  64,  72,  80,  85,  88,  96;  .vii.  8,  15,  69,  74;  viii.  28,  95, 
etc.;  S.  I.  News,  ii.,  passim;  Morse's  Pion.  Exp.,  MS.,  7;  Colton's  Deck  and 
Port,  352,  386,  401;  Pioche  Journal,  June  4,  1875;  Pierce's  Rough  Sketch, 
MS.,  105-8,  111;  Coles  Vig.  Com.,  MS.,  3;  Mex.,  Revol.  Sta  Anna,  154;  Pan. 
Star,  Feb.  24,  1849;  Commerce  and  Navig.  Repts,  1850-67;  Overland  Monthly, 
xiv.  320,  327-8;  xv.  241-8,  etc.;  Nouv.  Annales,  1849,  3,  224;  Parson's  Life 
of  Marshall,  96,  99-103,  157;  Connor's  Early  Cal.,  MS.,  2;  Coast  Review,  Oct. 
1877,  377;  Oakland  Transcript,  March  1,  1873;  May  5,  1875;  March  25,  July 
14,  1877;  Monterey  Herald,  Feb.  13,  1875;  Le  National,  Oct.  4,  1869;  Russian 
River  Flag,  Jan.  9,  1873;  Morse's  Statement,  MS.;  Henshaw's  Hist.  Events,  MS., 
1-2,  7-8;  Hesperian,  ii.  10,  492,  494;  Rednitz,  Reise,  106;  Olneys  Vig.  Com., 
MS.,  1-3;  Ventura  Free  Press,  Sept.  29,  1877;  Mining  and  Scientific  Press, 
Aug.  3,  1878;  Lyon  Co.,  Nev.,  Times,  March  24,  1877;  San  Diego  Arch.,  331; 
San  Diego  Herald,  Dec.  5,  1874;  Frignet,  La  Cal.,  83,  94,  117,  121-2,  135; 
Foster's  Gold  Regions,  passim;  Cerruti's  Rambhngs,  25-7,  50,  67;  Clemens' 
Roughing  It,  410,'  417,  444;  Home  Missionary,  xxii.  92-3,  163-7,  186;  xxiii. 
208-9;  xxvii.  159-60;  London  Quart.  Rev.,  Jan.  1881,  45-6;  Pion.  Mag.,  i. 
174;  ii.  80;  iii.  80-1,  147;  iv.  314;  Player- Frowd's  Six  Months  in  Cal,  22-3; 
Placerville  Republ,  July  19,  1877;  Coke's  Rid*,  354-7;  Pion.  Arch.,  29-31;  S. 
F.  Occident,  March  5,  1874;  S.  F.  News  Letter,  Jan.  17,  1874;  S.  F.  Excltange, 
Jan.  13,  1876;  Elite  Directory,  1879,  11-19;  S.  F.  Golden  Era,  March  8,  1874; 
Jan.  26,  1878;  S.  F.  Chronicle,  July  6,  1878;  June  4,  1879;  Oct.  3,  31,  1880; 
S.  F.  Call,  Jan.  6,  28,  March  1,  Aug.  23,  1865;  Sept.  1,  1866;  Aug.  1,  1867, 
etc.;  San  Jose  Pioneer,  Aug.  4,  Dec.  1,  14,  1877;  Feb.  16,  May  4,  July  27, 
1878;  Aug.  16,  1879;  Hist.  San  Jose,  209-16;  San  Joaquin  Co.  Hist.,  21,  23, 
34-5;  S.  F.  Times,  Jan.  12,  1867;  S.  F.  Town  Talk,  Apr.  10,  1857;  S.  F.  Post, 
Apr.  3,  1875;  Feb.  10,  1876;  July  27,  Nov.  1,  23,  1878;  Chamberlain's  State 
ment,  MS.,  1;  Cousin's  Statement,  MS.,  5-7,  10-18;  Hist.  Doc.  Cal,  1-508; 
Olympia  Standard,  July  22,  1876;  Sargent,  in  Nevada  Grass  Val.  Direct., 
1856,  29-31;  Sta  Cruz  Sentinel,  Feb.  20,  1875;  Sta  Cruz  Times,  March  12, 


1870;  ROM'  Narrative,  MS.,  12,  15-18;  Roach's  Hist.  Facts,  MS.,  3;  Modesto 
Herald,  Feb.  14,  1878;  Ricltardson's  Mining  Exper.,  MS.,  10-11,  27-30;  Mel 
bourne  Morn.  Herald,  March  29,  1849;  Hist,  of  Los  Ang.,  73-4;  Lloyd's  Lights 
and  Shades,  18-21,  513-16;  Robinsons  Cal.  and  its  Gold  Regions,  10,  105,  214; 
Capron's  Hist.  Cal.,  125-6,  129,  146,  165,  220,  233;  Roach's  Statement,  MS., 
2-3,  9;  Campbell's  Circular  Notes,  i.  98-129;  Revue  des  Deux  Mondes,  Feb.  1, 

1849,  475;  Miscellany,  ix.,  pt.  i.  77;  McDaniels'  Early  Days,  MS.,  6,  49-50; 
Sac.  Union,  Dec.  16,  1854;  Sept.  1,  1855;  March  13-15,  Apr.  4,  May  21,  June 
26,  Sept.  16,  Dec.  25,  26,  31,  1856;  Sept.  14,  1858;  Sept.  4,  1865,  etc.;  Sac. 
Bee,  June  12,  1874;  Sac.   Wkly  Bee,  Aug.  16,  1879;  Shasta  Courier,  March  25, 
1865;  Shaw's  Golden  Dreams,  37-42,  47,   179-83;  Catholic   World,  795,  807; 
Cal,  Pop.  and  Col.  Scraps,  126-7;  Sayward's  Pioneer  Remin.,  MS.,  4,  29-33; 
Ryan's  Pers.  Adv.,  ii.   170-220,  250-7,  265-6;  Id.,  Judges  and  Grim.,  80-2; 
Cal.  Pilgrim,  54,  136;  S.   F.  Bulletin,  Jan.   2,  March  29,  Apr.  1,  July  7,  8, 
Aug.  5,  Sept.  15,  20,  25,  Nov.  27,  Dec.  4,  1856;  Sept.  27, 1862;  Feb.  28,  Oct. 
28,    1865;   Apr.    30,   1866;   Jan.  23,  25,  1867,  etc.;   Cal,  Pion.    Celebrations 
Scraps,  8-10;  Id.,  Polit.  Scraps,  123;  Cal  Archives,  Unbound  Doc.,  20,  55,  56, 
58,  59,  64-7,  224-6,  228,  319-20,  322-3,  328-9;  Cal,  Advent,  of  a  Captain's 
Wife,  18,  20,  27-8,  41-2;  Cal  Past  and  Present,  107-9,  149-50,  159-60,  163; 
Sacramento  Illust.,  8,  12-13;  The  World  Over,  92-110;  The  Mines,  Miners,  etc., 
790-1;   Thomas,  in  Sac.  Direct.,  1871,  52-3,  76,  1034;   McCabe's  Our  Coun 
try,   1054-6;   Mayne's  Br.  Columbia,   157,   163;   The   World  Here  and  There, 
14-27;  Matthewsons  Statement,  MS.,  2-3;  Sutton's  Early  Exper.,  MS.,  passim; 
Stockton  Indep.,  Aug.   31,   1878;  July  28,  1879;  Soules  Statement,  MS.,  2,  4; 
ElSonorense,  May  2,  1849,  p.  4;  La  Armonia  Social  (Guadalajara),  March  2, 
1849;  Miller's  Songs  of  the  Sierras,  69,  70,  280;  Solano  Press,  Dec.   11,  1867; 
Solano  Co.  Hist.,  164;    Wilmington  Enterprise,  Jan.  21,   1875;  Tuthill's  Hist. 
Cal,  passim;    Vanderbilt,  in  Miscel  Statements,  32,  35;  Shuck's  Repres.  Men  of 
S.  F.,  936-7;  Shinn's  Mining  Camps,  137;    Virginia,  Nev.,  Chron.,  May  21, 
1877;  Sac.  Record,   March  6,  1875;  Tinkham's  Hist.  Stockton,  166-75;  Sher 
wood's  Pocket  Guide,  64-5;  London  Times,  July  25,  1850;  Little's  Statement, 
MS.,  3,  11,  16;  Upham's  Notes,  221-2,  225-6,  265-72;  Mrs  Tibbey,  in  Miscel 
Statements,  19-20;  Tiffany's  Pocket  Exch.   Guide,  16,   124-6;  Tyler's  Mormon 
Battalion,  242-334;  Taylor's  Oregonians,  MS.,   1-2;  Id.,  Spec.  Press,  11$,  50, 
57i  500-3;  Id.,  Eldorado,  i.-ii.,  passim;  Id.,  Cal.  Life  Illust.,  164-7,  190-4; 
Crosby's  Events  in  Cal,  MS.,  10-17,  22-3,  25,  38-9,  46;  Torres,  Perip.,  62,  99- 
100,  109,  112,  145;  La  Motte's  Statement,  MS.,  1;  Ryckman's  Vig.  Com.,  MS.; 
Van  Dyke's  Statement,  MS.,  3;    Voorhies  Oration,  1853,  4-5;  Vinton's  Quarter 
master's  Rept  U.  S.  A.,  1850,  245-S;  Cal  In  and  Out,  254,  344,  360;    Ver 
Mehr's  Checkered  Life,  344,  367-8;  Todd,  in  Miscel.  Statement,  21;   Watkin's 
Vig.   Com.,  MS.,    1,  24;    Vallejo  Wkly  Chron.,  July  26,  1873;   Velasco,  Son., 
325;  Soc.  Mex.  Geog.,  Bolet.,  xi.  129;   Vallejo,  Col  Doc.,  xxxv.  47,  148,  192; 
Willey's  Thirty  Years,  MS.,  37,  39;  Id.,  Personal  Memoranda,  MS.,  127-8; 
Wheaton's  Statement,  MS.,  2-4;  U.  S.  Govt  Doc.,  31st  Cong.,  1st  Sess.,  H.  Ex. 
17,  pp.  693,  845,  968-9;  Yuba  Co.  History,  147;   Wilmington  Enterprise,  Jan.  21, 
1875;   Williams'  Stateme.nt,  MS.,  3-14;  Id.,  Rec.  of  Early  Days,  MS.,  1-13;  Id., 
Pion.  Pastorate,  44-8;  Carson  State  Register,  Oct.  19,  1871;  Upton,  in  Overland 
Mthly,  ii.   135-7;   Winans'  Statement,  MS.,  3-6,  14-18;   Turrill's   Cal  Note*, 
22-7;  Shirley,  in  Miscel  Statements,  13-16;    Woods'  Pion.    Work,  17-18;  Id., 
Sixteen  Months,  46,  62,  68,  72,  74-6,  87,  148,  167;  Cal,  Statutes,  1850  et  seq.; 
Id.,  Journal  House,  1850,  p.  1344;  Id.,  Journ.  Sen.,  1850,  pp.  481,  1299,  1307, 
1340,  and  index;  1851,  pp.  921-4,  999,   1516-34,  1583,   1658-76;  S.  F.  Alta 
Cal,  Jan.  25,  June  5,  14,  Aug.  2,  Dec.   15,  1849;  Jan.  14,  16,  May  27,  June 
25,  July  1,  Dec.  19,  21,  24,  1850;  1851-2,  passim,  etc.;  S.  F.  Daily  Herald, 

1850,  passim;  Feb.  19,  Sept.  30,  1851;  Apr.  7,  1852;  Neall's  Vig.  Com.,  MS., 
3-5,  14-16,  23-8;  S.  F.  Minutes  Assembly,   1849,  passim;  Id.,  Mumcs  Rept, 
1859-60,  pp.  167-8;  1861-2,  pp.  259-60;  1866-7,  p.  520;  Id.,  Manuel,  pp.  ix.- 
xvi.;  Sac.  Transcript,  Apr.  26,  May  29,  June  29,  Sept.  18,  30,  Oct.  14,  Nov. 
14,  29,  1850;  Jan.  14,  May  15,  1851;  Hittell's  Hist.  S.  F.,  passim;  S.  F.  Paci 
fic  News,  Nov. -Dec.   1849,  passim;  1850,  passim;  Jan.  1,  10,  21,  23,  Feb.  7, 
14,  Apr.  11,  1851;  Parker's  S.  F.  Direct.,  1852-3,  7-18;  Kimball'sS.  F.  Direct., 
1850,  124-30;  Sac.,  Placer  Times,  May  5,  12,  19,  26,  June  2,  30,  1849,  passim. 




IN  the  anthem  of  human  progress  there  is  here  and 
there  a  chorus  of  events  which  rolls  its  magnificent 
volume  around  the  world,  making  all  that  went  before 
or  that  follows  seem  but  the  drowsy  murmur  of  the 
night.  In  this  crash  of  chorus  we  regard  not  the  in 
struments  nor  the  players,  but  are  lifted  from  the 
plane  by  the  blended  power  of  its  thousand-stringed 
eloquence,  and  under  the  spell  of  its  mighty  harmonies 
become  capable  of  those  great  emotions  which  lead 
to  heroic  deeds.  The  political  history  of  California 
opens  as  such  a  chorus,  whose  mingling  strains,  dis 
tinctive  heard  for  more  than  a  decade,  come  from  a 
few  heavy -brained  white  men  and  four  millions  of  negro 

Calhoun,  the  great  yet  sinister  Carolinian,  knew, 
when  he  opposed  the  conquest  of  California,  that  the 
south,  and  he  more  than  all,  had  brought  about  the 
event;1  and  while  pretending  not  to  desire  more  ter- 

1  Benton,  in  the  congressional  debates  of  1847,  in  which  Calhoun  opposed 
the  acquisition  of  more  territory,  and  into  which  he  introduced  his  firebrand 
resolutions — see  Cong.  Globe,  1846-7,  p.  455 — made  a  clear  case  against  Cal 
houn,  showing  unequivocally  that  either  he  had  three  times  changed  his 



ritory,  the  slave  power  was  covertly  grasping  at  the 
Spanish-speaking  countries  beyond  the  Rio  Grande, 

policy,  or  that  he  was  the  Machaivelli  of  American  politics.  Benton's  history 
of  the  causes  of  the  war  was  as  follows:  'The  cession  of  Texas  is  the  begin 
ning  point  in  the  chain  of  causes  which  have  led  to  this  war;  for  unless  the 
country  had  been  ceded  away  there  could  have  been  no  quarrel  with  any 
power  in  getting  it  back.  For  a  long  time  the  negotiator  of  that  treaty  of 
cession  [Mr  J.  Q.  Adams]  bore  all  the  blame  of  the  loss  of  Texas,  and  his 
motives  for  giving  it  away  were  set  down  to  hostility  to  the  south  and  west, 
and  a  desire  to  clip  the  wings  of  the  slave-holding  states.  At  last  the  truth 
of  history  has  vindicated  itself,  and  has  shown  who  was  the  true  author  of 
that  mischief  to  the  south  and  west.  Mr  Adams  has  made  a  public  declara 
tion,  which  no  one  controverts,  that  that  cession  was  made  in  conformity  to 
the  decision  of  Mr  Monroe's  cabinet,  a  majority  of  which  was  slave-holding, 
and  among  them  the  present  senator  from  South  Carolina  [Mr  Calhoun],  and, 
now  the  only  survivor  of  that  majority.  He  does  not  contradict  the  state 
ment  of  Mr  Adams;  he  therefore  stands  admitted  the  co-author  of  the  mis 
chief  to  the  south  and  west  which  the  cession  of  Texas  involved,  and  to 
escape  from  which  it  became  necessary,  in  the  opinion  of  the  senator  from 
South  Carolina,  to  get  back  Texas  at  the  expense  of  a  war  with  Mexico.  This 
conduct  of  the  senator  in  giving  away  Texas  when  we  had  her,  and  then 
making  war  to  get  her  back,  is  an  enigma  which  he  has  never  yet  conde 
scended  to  explain,  and  which  until  explained  leaves  him  in  a  state  of  self- 
contradiction,  which,  whether  it  impairs  his  own  confidence  in  himself  or 
not,  must  have  the  effect  of  destroying  the  confidence  of  others  in  him,  and 
wholly  disqualifies  him  for  the  office  of  champion  of  the  slave-holding  states. 
It  was  the  heaviest  blow  they  had  ever  received,  and  put  an  end,  in  conjunc 
tion  with  the  Missouri  compromise  and  the  permanent  location  of  the  In 
dians  west  of  the  Mississippi,  to  their  future  growth  or  extension  as  slave 
states  beyond  the  Mississippi.  The  [Missouri]  compromise,  which  was  then 
in  full  progress,  and  established  at  the  next  session  of  congress,  cut  off  the 
slave  states  from  all  territory  north  and  west  of  Missouri,  and  south  of  SGg0 
of  north  latitude;  the  treaty  of  1819  ceded  nearly  all  south  of  that  degree, 
comprehending  not  only  Texas,  but  a  large  part  of  the  valley  of  the  Missis 
sippi  on  the  Red  River  and  the  Arkansas,  to  a  foreign  power,  and  brought  a 
noii-slave-holding  empire  to  the  confines  of  Louisiana  and  Arkansas;  the  per 
manent  appropriation  of  the  rest  of  the  territory  for  the  abode  of  civilized  In 
dians  swept  the  little  slave-holding  territory  west  of  Arkansas,  and  lying 
between  the  compromise  line  and  the  cession  line,  and  left  the  slave  states 
without  one  inch  of  ground  for  their  future  growth.  Even  the  then  territory 
of  Arkansas  was  encroached  upon.  A  breadth  of  40  miles  wide  and  300  long 
was  cut  off  from  her  and  given  to  the  Cherokees;  and  there  was  not  as  much 
territory  left  west  of  the  Mississippi  as  a  dove  could  have  rested  the  sole  of  her 
foot  upon.  It  was  not  merely  a  curtailment  but  a  total  extinction  of  slave- 
holding  territory;  and  done  at  a  time  when  the  Missouri  controversy  was 
raging,  and  every  effort  made  by  northern  abolitionists  to  scop  the  growth  of 
the  slave  states.  [The  northern  states,  in  1824,  gave  nearly  as  large  a  vote 
for  Calhoun  for  vice-president  as  they  did  for  Adams  for  president.]  The 
senator  from  South  Carolina,  in  his  support  of  the  cession  of  Texas,  and  ced 
ing  a  part  of  the  valley  of  the  Mississippi,  was  then  the  most  efficient  ally 
of  the  restrictionists  at  that  time,  and  deprives  him  of  the  right  of  setting  up 
as  the  champion  of  the  slave  states  now.  I  denounced  the  sacrifice  of  Texas 
then,  believing  Mr  Adams  to  have  been  the  author  of  it;  I  denounce  it  now, 
knowing  the  senator  from  South  Carolina  to  be  its  author;  and  for  this,  his 
flagrant  recreancy  to  the  slave  interest  in  their  hour  of  utmost  peril,  I  hold 
him  disqualified  for  the  office  of  champion  of  the  14  slave  states,  and  shall 
certainly  require  him  to  keep  out  of  Missouri  and  to  confine  himself  to  his 
own  bailiwick  when  he  comes  to  discuss  his  string  of  resolutions.  I  come 


as  it  had  at  the  lands  beyond  the  Sabine,  the  whole 
to  become  a  breeding-ground  for  millions  more  of 

now  to  the  direct  proofs  of  the  authorship  of  the  war,  and  begin  with  the 
year  1836,  and  with  the  month  of  May  of  that  year,  and  with  the  27th  day 
of  that  month,  and  with  the  first  rumors  of  the  victory  of  San  Jacinto.  The 
congress  of  the  United  States  was  then  in  session;  the  senator  from  South 
Carolina  was  then  a  member  of  this  body;  and  without  even  waiting  for  the 
official  confirmation  of  the  great  event,  he  proposed  at  once  the  immediate 
recognition  of  the  independence  of  Texas,  and  her  immediate  admission  to 
the  union.  He  put  the  two  propositions  together — recognition  and  admission. 
. . .  Mr  Calhoun  was  of  opinion  that  it  would  add  more  strength  to  the  cause 
of  Texas  to  wait  a  few  days  until  they  received  official  confirmation  of  the 
victory  and  capture  of  Santa  Ana,  in  order  to  obtain  a  more  unanimous  vote 

in  favor  of  the  recognition  of  Texas He  had  made  up  his  mind,  not  only 

to  recognize  the  independence  of  Texas,  but  for  her  admission  into  this  union; 
and  if  the  Texans  managed  their  affairs  prudently,  they  would  soon  be  called 
upon  to  decide  that  question.  There  were  powerful  reasons  why  Texas  should 
be  a  part  of  the  union.  The  southern  states,  owning  a  slave  population,  were 
deeply  interested  in  preventing  that  country  from  having  the  power  to  annoy 
them;  and  the  navigating  and  manufacturing  interests  of  the  north  and  east 
were  equally  interested  in  making  it  a  part  of  this  union.  He  thought  they 
would  soon  be  called  on  to  decide  these  questions;  and  when  they  did  act  on 
it,  he  was  for  acting  on  both  together — for  recognizing  the  independence  of 
Texas  and  for  admitting  her  into  the  union ....  He  hoped  there  would  be  no 
unnecessary  delay,  for  in  such  cases  delays  were  dangerous;  but  that  they 
would  act  with  unanimity  and  act  promptly.  Here,  then,  is  the  proof  that 
ten  years  ago,  and  without  a  word  of  explanation  with  Mexico  or  any  request 
from  Texas — without  the  least  notice  to  the  American  people,  or  time  for 
deliberating  among  ourselves,  or  any  regard  to  existing  commerce — he  was 
for  plunging  us  into  instant  war  with  Mexico.  I  say,  instant  war;  for  Mex 
ico  and  Texas  were  then  in  open  war;  and  to  incorporate  Texas  was  to  incor 
porate  the  war  at  the  same  time I  well  remember  the  senator's  look  and 

attitude  on  that  occasion — the  fixedness  of  his  look  and  the  magisteriality  of 
his  attitude.  It  was  such  as  he  often  favors  us  with,  especially  when  he  is  in 
a  crisis,  and  brings  forward  something  which  ought  to  be  instantly  and  unani 
mously  rejected,  as  when  he  brought  in  his  string  of  abstractions  on  Thurs 
day  last.  So  it  was  in  1836 — prompt  and  unanimous  action,  and  a  look  to 
put  down  opposition.  But  the  senate  were  not  looked  down  in  1836.  They 

promptly  and  unanimously  refused  the  senator's  motion The  congress  of 

1836  would  not  admit  Texas.  The  senator  from  South  Carolina  became 
patient;  the  Texas  question  went  to  sleep,  and  for  seven  good  years  it  made 
no  disturbance.  It  then  woke  up,  and  with  a  suddenness  and  violence  pro 
portioned  to  its  long  repose.  Mr  Tyler  was  then  president;  the  senator  from 
South  Carolina  was  potent  under  his  administration,  and  soon  became  his 
secretary  of  state.  All  the  springs  of  intrigue  and  diplomacy  were  imme 
diately  set  in  motion  to  resuscitate  the  Texas  question,  and  to  reinvest  it  with 
all  the  dangers  and  alarms  which  it  had  worn  in  1836 ...  all  these  imme 
diately  developed  themselves,  and  intriguing  agents  traversed  earth  and  sea, 
from  Washington  to  Texas,  and  from  London  to  Mexico. '  I  will  now  give  a 
part  of  a  letter,  which  Benton  puts  in  evidence,  from  the  Texan  minister, 
van  Zandt,  to  Upsher,  the  American  sec.  of  state,  in  Jan.  1844,  and  the 
reply  of  Calhoun,  his  successor,  in  April.  '  In  view,  then,  of  these  things, ' 
said  the  Texan  minister,  '  I  desire  to  submit,  through  you,  to  his  excellency, 
the  president  of  the  U.  S.,  this  inquiry:  Should  the  president  of  Texas 
accede  to  the  proposition  of  annexation,  would  the  president  of  the  U.  S., 
after  the  signing  of  the  treaty  and  before  it  shall  be  ratified  and  receive  the 
final  action  of  the  other  branches  of  both  governments,  in  case  Texas  should 
desire  it,  or  with  her  consent,  order  such  number  of  the  military  and  naval 


human  chattels.  To  the  original  slave  territory  had 
been  added,  by  consent  of  congress,  the  Floridas,  which 
cost  $45,000,000  in  a  war,  and  $5,000,000  decency 
money  to  bind  the  bargain;  Louisiana,  which  cost 
$15,000,000,  or  as  much  of  it  as  made  three  states; 
Texas,  which  cost  $28,000,000  in  the  form  of  the 
Mexican  war,  and  before  we  were  done  with  it,  be 
tween  $18,000,000  and  $19,000,000  in  decency  money. 
That  the  government  was  able  to  reimburse  itself 
through  the  conquest  of  California  does  not  affect  the 
justice  of  the  charge  against  the  southern  politicians, 
who  were  always  ready  with  their  cry  of  northern 
aggression,2  and  the  unconstitutional ity  of  northern 
acts,  while  gathering  to  themselves  all  the  acquired  ter- 

forces  of  the  U.  S.  to  such  necessary  points  or  places  upon  the  territory  or 
borders  of  Texas  or  the  gulf  of  Mexico  as  shall  be  sufficient  to  protect  her 
against  foreign  aggression  ?  This  communication,  as  well  as  the  reply  which 
you  may  make,  will  be  considered  by  me  entirely  confidential,  and  not  to  be  em 
braced  in  my  regular  official  correspondence  to  my  government,  but  enclosed 
direct  to  the  president  of. Texas  for  his  information.'  To  this  letter  Upsher 
made  no  reply,  and  six  weeks  afterward  he  died.  His  temporary  successor, 
Attorney-general  Nelson,  did  reply  indirectly,  but  to  say  that  the  U.  S.  could 
not  employ  its  army  and  navy  against  a  foreign  power  with  which  they  were 
at  peace.  Calhoun,  however,  when  he  became  sec.  of  state,  wrote:  'I  am 
directed  by  the  president  to  say  that  the  secretary  of  the  navy  has  been  in 
structed  to  order  a  strong  naval  force  to  concentrate  in  the  gulf  of  Mexico 
to  meet  any  emergency;  and  that  similar  orders  have  been  issued  by  the  sec 
retary  of  war,  to  move  the  disposable  military  forces  on  our  southern  fron 
tier  for  the  same  purpose.'  Cong.  Globe,  1846-7,  494-501.  I  have  not  room 
for  further  quotations,  but  this  is  enough  to  show  the  southern  authenticity 
of  the  Mexican  war,  which  the  democratic  administration  of  Polk  brought 
to  a  crisis  in  1845-6,  but  which  was  ready  prepared  to  his  hand  at  the  moment 
of  his  inauguration,  by  the  scheming  of  the  most  bitter  opponent  of  conquest 
— after  the  restriction  of  slavery  began  again  to  be  agitated. 

2  No  more  convincing  reference  could  be  made  to  prove  the  conciliatory 
spirit  of  the  free  states  than  the  constitution  itself,  nor  to  show  that  they  re 
garded  slavery  as  local  and  temporary.  Section  9  of  article  1  declares :  '  The 
migration  or  importation  of  such  persons  as  any  of  the  states  now  existing 
shall  think  proper  to  admit  shall  not  be  prohibited  by  the  congress  previous 
to  the  year  1808,  but  a  tax  or  duty  may  be  imposed  on  such  importation,  not 
exceeding  ten  dollars  for  each  person.'  The  slave  states  were  fewer  in  num 
ber  and  more  thinly  settled  than  the  free  states;  therefore  the  latter,  to  equalize 
the  power  of  the  two  sections,  and  secure  the  federation  of  all  the  states,  made 
important  concessions;  and  while  saying  that '  no  capitation  or  direct  tax  shall 
be  laid,  unless  in  proportion  to  the  census  or  enumeration  hereinbefore  di 
rected  to  be  taken,'  and  that  representation  should  be  determined  by  numbers, 
says  further,  '  which  shall  be  determined  by  adding  to  the  whole  number  of 
free  persons,  including  those  bound  to  service  for  a  term  of  years,  and  ex 
cluding  Indians  not  taxed,  three  fifths  of  all  other  persons, '  meaning  three 
fifths  of  the  slaves  in  the  slave  states,  which  were  not  subject  to  taxation, 
though  held  as  property,  and  though  not  acknowledged  to  be  men,  were 
represented  in  congress.  See  sec.  1,  article  1,  of  the  constitution. 


ritory,  enjoying  privileges  of  exemption  from  just  tax 
ation,  and  having  excessive  representation  in  congress 
and  a  preponderance  of  the  political  patronage  The 
north,  in  1846,  had  more  than  twice  the  free  voting 
population  of  the  south,  while  the  south  had  more 
states  than  the  north,3  consequently  more  votes  in  the 
United  States  senate,  with  the  privilege  of  a  prop 
erty  representation  in  the  lower  house.  Such  was 
the  aggressiveness  of  the  north  toward  the  south,  of 
which  for  a  dozen  years  we  heard  so  much  in  con 

It  was  said  in  seeming  earnest  that  the  south  had 
not  desired  the  acquisition  of  Mexican  territory.  This 
was  but  a  feint  on  the  part  of  the  southern  leaders. 
The  whigs  of  the  north  and  south,  in  the  senate,  op 
posed  the  war  policy,  while  the  democrats  favored  it. 
Nor  was  it  different  in  the  house  of  representatives. 
Yet  when  it  came  to  be  voted  upon,  the  matter  had 
gone  past  the  nation's  power  to  retract,  and  the  last 
$3,000,000  was  placed  in  the  president's  hands  by  a 
nearly  equal  vote  in  the  senate,  and  a  large  majority 
in  the  house.  Having  done  the  final  act,  the  people 
could  exult  in  their  new  possessions,  and  elect  a  whig 
to  the  presidency  for  having  been  the  conquering  hero 
in  the  decisive  Mexican  battles. 

The  conquest  of  California  had  been  a  trifling  mat- 

3  At  the  period  when  these  discussions  were  being  carried  on,  Feb.  1847, 
the  northern  or  free  states  were  Maine,  New  Hampshire,  Vermont,  Massa 
chusetts,  Connecticut,  Rhode  Island,  New  York,  New  Jersey,  Pennsylvania, 
Ohio,  Illinois,  Indiana,  Iowa,  and  Michigan,  14.  The  southern  or  slave 
states  were  Delaware,  Maryland,  Virginia,  North  Carolina,  South  Carolina, 
Georgia,  Alabama,  Florida,  Mississippi,  Louisiana,  Kentucky,  Tennessee, 
Missouri,  Arkansas,  and  Texas,  15.  In  August  Wisconsin  was  admitted, 
which  restored  the  balance  in  the  senate.  The  struggle  which  followed  over 
the  admission  of  California  was  a  battle  for  political  supremacy  as  well  as  for 
slave  territory.  That  this  cause  underlying  this  strife  has  been  removed,  the 
nation  should  be  profoundly  grateful. 

4Schenkof  Ohio,  speaking  to  the  house  of  representatives,  said:  'This 
much  we  do  know  in  the  free  states,  if  we  know  nothing  else,  that  a  man  at 
the  south  with  his  hundred  slaves  counts  61  in  the  weight  of  influence  and 
power  upon  this  floor,  while  the  man  at  the  north  with  his  100  farms  counts 
but  1.  Sir,  we  want  no  more  of  that;  and  with  the  help  of  God  and  our  own 
fir.ii  purpose  we  will  have  no  more  of  it.'  Cony.  Globe,  vol.  18,  1847-8,  1023. 


ter,  mere  guerrilla  practice  between  a  few  hundred 
American  settlers  of  the  border  class  and  a  slightly 
larger  force  of  Californians.  At  the  proper  juncture 
the  former  were  given  aid  and  comfort  by  the  United 
States  military5  and  naval  forces,  and  the  conquest 
had  cost  little  bloodshed.  It  is  true,  there  was  a  re 
volt,  which  was  cut  short  by  the  treaty  of  Cahuenga 
in  January  1847  There  was  the  irony  of  fate  in 
what  followed  the  conquest,  first  planned  by  southern 
politicians,  and  accomplished  in  defiance  of  their  sub 
sequent  opposition  ;  namely,  the  contemporaneous  dis 
covery  of  gold,  and  the  influx  of  a  large  population, 
chiefly  from  the  northern  states.  As  to  the  real  Cali 
fornians,  those  of  them  who  had  not  been  masters  had 
once  been  slaves,  and  they  now  would  have  only  free 

The  idea  of  conquest  in  the  American  mind  has 
never  been  associated  with  tyranny.6  On  the  con 
trary,  such  is  the  national  trust  in  its  own  superiority 
and  beneficence,  that  either  as  a  government  or  as 
individuals  we  have  believed  ourselves  bestowing  a 
precious  booft  upon  whomsoever  we  could  confer  in  a 
brotherly  spirit  our  institutions.  And  down  to  the 
present  time  the  other  nations  of  the  earth  have  not 
been  able  to  prove  us  far  in  the  wrong  in  indulging 
this  patriotic  self-esteem.  But  there  are  circum 
stances  which  obstruct  all  transitions  of  this  nature, 
and  temptations  which  being  yielded  to  by  individuals 
impart  an  odor  of  iniquity  to  governments  which  they 
have  not  justly  merited.  It  was  so  when  soldiers 

&  Prof.  Josiah  Royce,  of  Harvard  college,  by  philosophic  reasoning  as  well 
as  by  collateral  evidence,  arrives  at  similar  conclusions.  Study  of  American 

6  Luis  G.  Cuevas,  sec.  of  interior  and  foreign  relations  of  Mexico,  in  his 
report  to  congress  of  5th  Jan.,  1849,  speaking  of  the  treaty  of  Guadalupe  Hi 
dalgo,  says  that  the  future  of  the  Californians  was  an  object  of  deep  solicitude 
to  the  govt  and  congress,  and  to  the  plenipotentiaries  of  Mexico,  '  and  the 
relative  stipulations  of  the  treaty,  and  the  measures  subsequently  taken  to 
diminish  their  misfortune,  make  evident  how  deep  is  the  feeling  caused  by 
the  separation  from  the  national  union  of  Mexicans,  those  so  worthy  of  pro 
tection,  and  of  marked  consideration.'  Mex.  Mem.  Relac.,  1849,  p.  14.  So 
far  as  the  Californians  were  concerned,  they  were  ripe  for  separation,  as  the 
secretary  must  have  known. 


of  the  Castilian  race,  under  the  seeming  authority  of 
the  Spanish  rulers  at  Madrid,  robbed  and  massacred 
the  native  races  of  this  continent,  notwithstanding  the 
mandate  not  to  commit  these  crimes  against  human 
ity.  It  is  so  to-day,  when  the  cry  is  daily  going  up 
against  our  Indian  policy,  which  thoughtfully  exam 
ined  in  the  light  of  history  is  in  some  respects  an 
enlightened  and  Christian  policy;  for  instead  of  reduc 
ing  the  savages  to  slavery  or  taxing  them  to  support 
the  government  of  the  invader,  it  simply  kills  them, 
the  few  survivors  being  supported  and  educated  at 
public  expense.  It  is  a  wise  policy,  a  humane  policy, 
but  in  the  hands  of  vile  politicians  and  their  creatures, 
it  results  in  acts  that  satisfy  Satan  most  of  all.  Still, 
if  certain  Americans,  being  possessed  of  the  souls  of 
sharks  rather  than  of  men,  contrived  by  the  aid  of 
laws  maleadministered  to  swallow  up  the  patrimony 
of  many  a  Juan  and  Ignacio  of  this  dolce  far  niente 
land,  it  cannot  be  said  that  the  United  States  was  an 
intelligent  party  to  the  scandal. 

When  Commodore  Sloat,  at  Monterey,  in  July 
1846,  proclaimed  California  free  from  Mexican  rule, 
and  a  territory  of  the  United  States,  he  exercised  no 
tyrannous  authority,  simply  informing  the  people  that 
until  the  United  States  should  erect  a  government 
they  would  be  under  the  authority  and  protection  of 
military  laws.7  He  assured  them  that  their  rights  of 
conscience,  of  property,  and  of  suffrage  should  be  re 
spected;  that  the  clergy  should  remain  in  possession  of 
the  churches ;  and  that  while  the  manufactures  of  the 
United  States  would  be  admitted  free  of  duty,  about 
one  fourth  of  the  former  rates  would  be  charged  on 
foreign  merchandise.  Should  any  not  wish  to  live 
under  the  new  government  as  citizens  of  it,  they  would 
be  afforded  every  facility  for  selling  their  property 
and  retiring  from  the  country.  Should  they  prefer  to 
remain,  in  order  that  the  peace  of  the  country  and 

Hist.  San  Jose,  148-50 
HIST.  CAL.,  VOL.  VI.    17 


the  course  of  justice  should  not  be  disturbed,  the  pre 
fects  of  districts  and  alcaldes8  of  municipalities  were 
to  retain  their  offices,  and  continue  the  exercise  of  the 
functions  pertaining  to  them  in  the  same  manner  as 
formerly.  Provisions  furnished  the  United  States 
officers  and  troops  should  be  fairly  purchased,  and  the 
holders  of  real  estate  should  have  their  titles  confirmed 
to  them.  Such  were  the  promises  and  intentions  of 
the  government,  reiterated  from  time  to  time  by  the 
military  governors. 

In  the  disquiet  incident  to  a  sudden  change  of  gov 
ernment,  it  happened  that  Americans  not  infrequently 
were  appointed  to  the  office  of  alcalde,  to  fill  vacancies 
occurring  through  these  disruptive  conditions.  Wal 
ter  Colton,  the  American  alcalde  at  Monterey,  exer 
cising  the  unlimited  authority  conferred  upon  him  by 
the  office,  impanelled  the  first  jury  ever  summoned  in 
Monterey,  September  4,  1846,  composed  one  third 

*Bidwell,  1841  to  1848,  MS.,  231.  The  district  of  Sonoma  was  bounded 
by  S.  F.  Bay,  the  ocean,  the  Oregon  line,  and  the  Sac.  River;  the  Sac.  dis 
trict,  the  territory  east  of  the  Sacramento,  and  north  and  east  of  the  San  Joa- 
quin;  and  so  on.  There  was  an  alcalde  wherever  there  was  a  settlement. 
Crosby's  Statement,  MS.,  16.  It  was  not  necessary  that  an  alcalde  should 
know  much  about  written  law  or  precedents.  In  both  civil  and  criminal 
suits  brought  before  him  his  decisions  were  final,  the  penalties  being  severe 
and  invariably  applied.  Burnett,  Recoil.,  MS.,  ii.  143.  The  punishment  of 
stealing,  the  most  common  crime,  was  for  Mexicans  a  fine,  and  for  Indians 
whipping.  The  Calif  ornians  had  no  penitentiary  system,  nor  work -houses. 
Colton,  who  was  appointed  by  Stockton  alcalde  of  Monterey,  July  28,  1846, 
introduced  compulsory  labor  for  criminals,  and  before  the  end  of  a  month  had 
8  Indians,  3  Calif ornians,  and  one  i,  'glishman  making  adobes,  all  sentenced 
for  stealing  horses  or  cattle.  Each  nuvt  make  53  adobes  per  day;  for  all  over 
that  number  they  were  paid  a  cent  a  piece,  the  total  of  their  weekly  earnings 
being  paid  every  Saturday  night.  A  captain  was  put  over  them,  chosen  from 
their  own  number,  and  no  other  guard  was  required.  Three  Years  in  Cal.,  41- 
2.  Colton  was  chaplain  on  board  the  ship  Congress  when  appointed.  He  held 
the  position  only  until  Sept.  15th,  when  he  returned  to  his  duties  on  board 
the  ship.  He  really  discharged  the  duties  of  prefect,  for,  he  says:  'It  devolved 
upon  me  duties  similar  to  those  of  a  mayor  of  one  of  our  cities,  without  any 
of  those  judicial  aids  which  he  enjoys.  It  involves  every  breach  of  the  peace, 
every  case  of  crime,  every  business  obligation,  and  every  disputed  land-title 
within  300  miles.  From  every  other  alcalde's  court  in  this  jurisdiction  there 
is  an  appeal  to  this,  and  none  from  this  to  any  higher  tribunal.  Such  an  ab 
solute  disposal  of  questions  affecting  property  and  personal  liberty  never 
ought  to  be  confided  to  one  man.  There  is  not  a  judge  on  any  bench  in  Eng 
land  or  the  United  States  whose  power  is  so  absolute  as  that  of  the  alcalde  of 
Monterey.'  Colton  held  under  a  military  commission,  succeeding  the  purser 
of  the  Congress,  R.  M.  Price,  and  the  surgeon,  Edward  Gilchrist.  After  the 
15th  of  Sept.  the  office  was  restored  to  its  civil  status,  the  incumbent  being 
elected  by  the  people. 


each  of  native  Californians,  Mexicans,  and  Americans. 
The  case  being  an  important  one,  involving  property 
on  one  side  and  character  on  the  other,  and  the  dis 
putants  being  some  of  the  principal  citizens  of  the 
county,  it  excited  unusual  interest,  to  which  being 
added  the  novel  excitement  of  the  new  mode  of  trial, 
there  was  created  a  profound  impression.  By  means 
of  interpreters,  and  with  the  help  of  experienced 
lawyers,  the  case  was  carefully  examined,  and  a  ver 
dict  rendered  by  the  jury  of  mixed  nationalities,  which 
was  accepted  as  justice  by  both  sides,  though  neither 
party  completely  triumphed.  One  recovered  his  prop 
erty  which  had  been  taken  by  mistake,  and  the  other 
his  character  which  had  been  slandered  by  design.9 
With  this  verdict  the  inhabitants  expressed  satisfac 
tion,  because  they  could  see  in  the  method  pursued  no 
opportunity  for  bribery  They  had  yet  to  learn  that 
even  juries  could  be  purchased. 

Stockton,  who  succeeded  Sloat,  acted  toward  the 
Californian  population  in  the  same  conciliatory  spirit. 
The  strife  in  1847  was  not  between  them  and  the  mili 
tary  authorities,  but  between  the  military  chiefs,  who 
each  aspired  to  be  the  first  to  establish  a  civil  govern 
ment  in  the  conquered  country,  as  I  have  shown  in  a 
previous  volume.10  Kearny  claimed  that  he  had  been 
instructed  by  the  secretary  of  war  to  march  from 
Mexico  to  California,  and  to  "take  possession  "of  all  the 
sea-coast  and  other  towns,  and  establish  civil  govern 
ment  therein.  When  he  arrived,  possession  had  al 
ready  been  taken,  and  a  certain  form  of  government, 
half  civil  and  half  military,  had  been  put  in  operation. 
Stockton  had  determined  upon  Fremont  as  military 
commander  and  governor,  who  was  to  report  to  him 
as  commander-in-chief.  Kearny  would  have  made 
Fremont  governor  had  he  joined  him  against  Stockton. 
On  January  19,  1847,  Fremont  assumed  the  civil  gov 
ernment,  with  William  H.  Russell  secretary  of  state, 

'Cotton's  Three  Years  in  Cal.,  47. 
19 Hist.  Cal.,  v.  444-51,  this  series. 


under  commissions  from  Stockton.  A  legislative 
council  was  appointed,  consisting  of  Juan  Bandini, 
Juan  B.  Alvarado,  David  Spence,  Eliab  Grimes,  San 
tiago  Arguello,  M.  G.  Vallejo,  and  T.  O.  Larkin, 
summoned  to  convene  at  Los  Angeles,  March  1st;  but 
no  meeting  was  ever  held.  Finally,  the  authorities 
at  Washington  ordered  Fremont  to  return  to  the  capi 
tal  as  soon  as  his  military  services  could  be  dispensed 
with.  There  was  a  new  naval  commander  in  January, 
Shubrick,  who  sided  with  Kearny.  Together  they 
issued  a  circular,  in  which  Kearny  assumed  executive 
powers,  fixing  the  capital  at  Monterey.  The  country 
was  to  be  held  simply  as  a  conquest,  and  as  nearly  as 
possible  under  the  old  laws,  until  such  time  as  the 
United  States  should  provide  a  territorial  government. 
In  June,  Kearny  set  out  for  Washington  with  Fre 
mont.  In  July,  Stockton  also  took  his  departure.  The 
person  left  in  command  of  the  land  forces,  and  to  act 
as  governor,  was  R.  B.  Mason,  colonel  1st  dragoons, 
who,  perceiving  the  rock  upon  which  his  predecessors 
had  split,  confined  his  ambition  to  compliance  with 
instructions,  and  who  ruled  as  acceptably  as  was  pos 
sible  under  the  anomalous  condition  of  affairs  in  the 

In  October,  Governor  Mason  visited  San  Francisco, 
where  he  found  a  newly  elected  town  council.  On 
taking  leave,  after  a  flattering  reception,  he  addressed 
a  communication  to  the  council,11  reminding  them  that 
their  jurisdiction  was  limited  to  the  territory  embraced 
by  the  town  limits,  which  the  alcalde12  was  directed  to 

11  The  council  consisted  of  William  Glover,  William  D.  M.  Howard,  Wil 
liam  A.  Leidesdorff,  E.  P.  Jones,  Robert  A.  Parker,  and  William  S.  Clark. 
Howard,  Jones,  and  Clark  were  chosen  a  committee  to  draught  a  code  of  muni 
cipal  laws.     Under  these  regulations  George  Hyde  was  first  alcalde,  and  was 
not  popular.     The  second  alcalde,  for  there  were  two,  was  T.  M.  Leavenworth. 
Leidesdorff  was  nominated  town  treasurer,  and  William  Pettet  secretary  of 
the  council.     At  the  same  meeting  the  council  imposed  a  fine  of  $500,  and  3 
months'  imprisonment  on  any  one  who  enticed  a  sailor  to  desert,  or  who  har 
bored  deserting  seamen.     Certain  odious  conditions  in  the  titles  to  town  lots 
were  removed. 

12  Washington  A.  Bartlett,  a  lieutenant  attached  to  a  U.  S.  vessel,  was 
the  first  American  alcalde  of  S.  F.,  appointed  in  Jan.  1847,  and  responsible 
for  the  restoration  of  name  from  Yerba  Buena  to  the  more  sonorous,  well- 


determine  without  unnecessary  delay ;  that  their  duties 
were  prospective,  not  retrospective;  warning  them 
against  abrogating  contracts  made  by  previous  author 
ities,  further  than  to  exercise  the  right  of  appeal  in 
the  case  of  injurious  regulations,  and  advising  the 
council  to  keep  the  municipality  free  from  debt.  Three 
petitions  being  presented  to  him  for  the  removal  of  the 
then  alcalde,  he  ordered  an  investigation  of  the  charges, 
which  resulted  in  the  resignation  of  that  officer  and 
the  appointment  of  another  in  his  place.  Having 
settled  these  affairs,  Mason  returned  to  Monterey; 
and  from  the  proceedings  here  hinted  at  may  be  in 
ferred  how  rapidly,  even  at  this  date,  the  country  was 
becoming  Americanized,  the  best  evidence  of  which 
was  the  freedom  with  which  the  existing  institutions 
were  assailed  by  the  press,  represented  by  two  weekly 
newspapers,  both  published  at  San  Francisco. 

As  early  as  February  13,  1847,  the  California  Star 
urged  the  calling  of  a  convention  to  form  a  constitu 
tion  for  the  territory,  justifying  the  demand  by  rail 
ing  at  the  existing  order  of  things.  The  author  of 
these  tirades  was  Doctor  Semple,  of  whom  I  shall 
have  more  to  say  hereafter,  and  whom  Colton  calls 
his  "tall  partner."  "We  have  alcaldes,"  he  said,  "all 
over  the  country,  assuming  the  power  of  legislatures, 
issuing  and  promulgating  their  bandos,  laws,  and  orders, 
and  oppressing  the  people."  He  declared  that  the 
"most  nefarious  scheming,  trickery,  and  speculating 
have  been  practised  by  some."  He  spoke  propheti 
cally  of  what  was  still  in  the  future  rather  than  of 

known,  and  saintly  appellation  which  it  now  bears.  It  had  at  this  time  300 
inhabitants,  50  adobe  houses,  and  a  weekly  newspaper,  the  California  Star, 
owned  by  Sam  Brannan  and  edited  by  E.  P.  Jones.  In  May  the  Californian, 
started  at  Monterey  Aug.  15,  1846,  was  removed  to  S.  F.  During  Bartlett's 
administration  Jasper  O'Farrell  surveyed  and  planned  the  city.  Some  dis 
satisfaction  existed  with  the  grants  made  by  his  successor,  Hyde,  who  was 
appointed  Feb.  22,  1847.  He  was  succeeded  by  Edwin  Bryant,  author  of 
What  I  Saw  in  California,  who  returned  to  the  states  with  Kearny  and  Fre 
mont.  Hyde  was  again  appointed,  and  was  succeeded,  as  I  have  said,  by  J. 
Townsend,  T.  M.  Leavenworth,  and  J.  W.  Geary,  the  last  alcalde  and  first 
mayor  of  S.  F. 


anything  of  which  complaint  had  been  made  at  that 
time.  Before  the  end  of  the  year,  however,  causes 
of  dissatisfaction  had  multiplied  with  the  population,13 
and  the  "inefficient  mongrel  military  rule"  was  becom 
ing  odious.  Some  of  the  alcaldes  refused  to  take  cogni 
zance  of  cases  involving  over  $100;  but  the  governor 
failing  to  provide  higher  tribunals,  they  were  forced 
to  adjudicate  in  any  amount  or  leave  such  cases  with 
out  remedy;  and  the  authority  they  exercised,  which 
combined  the  executive,  legislative,  and  judicial  func 
tions  in  their  persons,  constantly  became  more  poten 
tial,  and  also  more  liable  to  abuse.  But  there  was  no 
help  for  the  condition  of  public  affairs  until  the  United 
States  and  Mexico  should  agree  upon  some  treaty 
terms  by  which  military  rule  could  be  suspended  and 
a  civil  government  erected. 

The  year  1848  opened  with  the  discovery  that  the 
territory  acquired  by  the  merest  show  of  arms,  and 
for  which  the  conquering  power  was  offering  to  pay  a 
friendship-token  of  nearly  twenty  millions,  was  a  gold- 
field,  which  promised  to  reimburse  the  purchaser.  It 
had  hardly  become  known  in  California,  and  was  un 
known  in  Mexico  and  the  United  States,  when  on 
the  2d  of  February,  1848,  the  treaty  of  Guadalupe 
Hidalgo  was  signed;14  nor  was  it  fully  substantiated 
at  the  seat  of  government  when,  on  the  19th  of  June, 
the  treaty  was  proclaimed  by  the  president.  The 
news  did  not  reach  California  until  August,  when  it 
was  here  proclaimed  on  the  7th  of  that  month. 

Mason  seems  to  have  been  at  his  wit's  end  long 
before  this.  He  was  undoubtedly  favorable  to  the 
project  of  a  civil  government,  and  he  was  aware  that 
the  administration  secretly  held  the  same  views.  Polk 
understood  the  American  people — they  had  given  him 
a  precedent  in  Oregon.  When  Mason  had  reason  to 
think  that  any  day  he  might  receive  despatches  from 
Washington  appointing  a  governor,  and  furnishing  a 

13  California  Star,  Jan.  22,  1848. 

14  Hist.  Hex.,  v.  542,  this  series. 


code  of  laws  for  the  temporary  government  of  the 
country,  he  drew  back  from  the  responsibility.  But 
the  rush  and  roar  of  the  tide  being  turned  upon  the 
country  by  the  gold  discovery  staggered  him.  In 
June  he  visited  the  mines  to  judge  for  himself  of  the 
necessity  for  political  action.15  When  he  issued  his 
proclamation  of  the  treaty  two  months  later,  he  an 
nounced  that  he  had  instructions  from  Washington 
"  to  take  proper  measures  for  the  permanent  occupa 
tion  of  the  newly  acquired  territory;"16  and  in  conso 
nance  with  this  declaration  he  formally  promulgated 
a  code,  printed  in  English  and  Spanish.17  With  this 
the  American  population  were  not  satisfied,  insisting 
on  a  complete  territorial  organization,  such  as  he  had 
no  authority  to  establish.18 

San  Francisco  was,  unlike  Monterey,  Los  Angeles, 
and  San  Jose,  to  all  intents  an  American  town,  whose 
inhabitants  demanded  security  for  their  persons  and 
property,  and  titles  to  their  real  estate.  But  this  was 
by  no  means  the  sole  or  most  urgent  cause  of  anxiety 
to  the  governor.19  Early  in  the  spring  there  had  ar- 

^Larlcin,  Doc.,  vi.  135. 

16  Californian,  S.  F.,  Sept.  2,  1848,  iv.,  p.  1. 

17 Id.,  Aug.  14,  1848,  iii.  2. 

18  Hyde,  Statement,  MS.,  11. 

19  The  Americans,  Mason  knew,  could  take  care  of  themselves.     They  had 
already  organized  the  San  Francisco  guards.     A  meeting  was  held  Sept.  2d 
in  the  public  building  on  Portsmouth  square.     It  was  called  to  order  t>y  P. 
A.  Roach;  J.  C.  Ward  was  appointed  chairman,  and  R.  M.  Morrison  secty. 
Officers  elected:  Edward  Gilbert,  captain;  James  C.  Ward,  1st  lieut;  James 
C.  Leighton,  2d  lieut;  William  Grove,  3d  lieut;  W.  D.  M.  Howard,  1st  sergt., 
A.  J.  Ellis,  2d  sergt;  George  W.  Whittock,  3d  sergt;  James  Lee,  4th  sergt; 
corporals,  Francis  Murray,  A.  Durkin,  Daniel  Leahy,  Ira  Blanchard;  surgeon, 
W.  C.  Parker;  quartermaster,  E.  H.  Harrison;  paymaster,  R.  M.  Sherman. 
Civil  officers  of  the  corps  selected  were,  prest,  T.  R.  P.  Lee;  1st  vice-prest, 
James  Creightonj  2d  vice-prest,   R.   M.   Morrison;  treasurer,   A.   A.  Brins- 
made;   secty,  H.  L.   Sheldon.     A  committee  was  appointed  to  address  thi 

fovernor,  asking  for  a  loan  of  arms.  Californian,  S.  F.,  Sept.  9,  1848,  iii.,  p. 
.  On  the  24th  of  Sept.,  1849,  bids  were  received  by  the  Guards  for  tho 
erection  of  a  building  on  the  corner  of  Jackson  and  Dupont  sts,  40x55  ft,  3 
stories  high.  The  contract  was  given  to  John  Sime  at  $21,000.  Such  a 
building  would  be  worth  in  1878  about  $2,500.  Williams'  Statement,  MS.,  10^ 
11.  A  branch  organization  was  formed  at  Sac.  in  1850,  called  the  Sacramento 
guards,  having  64  members.  The  officers  were  David  McDowell,  capt. ; 
Henry  Hale,  1st  lieut;  W.  H.  Crowell,  2d  lieut;  James  Queen,  3d  lieut; 
sergts,  1st,  H.  G.  Langley;  2d,  B.  B.  Gore;  3d,  C.  C.  Flagg;  4th,  W.  H.  Tal- 
mage;  corporals,  L.  I.  Wilder,  G.  L.  Hewitt,  T.  H.  Borden,  W.  E.  Moody; 
clerk,  W.  R.  McCracken.  Sac.  Transcript,  Aug.  30,  1850;  Bluxvme,  MS., 
6,  20. 


rived  a  number  of  vessels  with  troops,  despatched  to 
California  in  the  autumn  of  1849,  while  the  Mexican 
war  was  in  progress.20  Such  were  the  temptations 
offered  by  the  gold  mines  that  the  seamen  deserted, 
leaving  their  vessels  without  men  to  navigate  them. 
The  newly  arrived  soldiers  did  the  same,21  and  it  was 
found  necessary  to  grant  furloughs  to  the  men,  to  give 
them  an  opportunity  to  try  their  fortunes  in  gold-get 

On  the  arrival  of  Commodore  T.  Ap  Catesby  Jones, 
in  October,  he  felt  compelled  to  offer  immunity  from 
punishment  to  such  deserters  from  the  navy  as  were 
guilty  of  no  other  offence  than  desertion.  This  clem 
ency  was  based  upon  the  information,  real  or  pre 
tended,  that  many  of  them  were  in  distress,23  and 
deterred  from  returning  to  duty  only  by  their  fears ; 
but  the  majority  of  seamen  were  by  no  means  eager 
to  forsake  the  mines  for  the  forecastle,  or  the  chances 
of  a  fortune  for  a  few  dollars  a  month  and  rations.  In 
August,  Mason  wrote  to  the  quartermaster-general  of 
the  army  that,  in  consequence  of  the  quantity  of  gold 
obtained  in  the  country,  cash — meaning  silver  coin — 
was  in  great  demand,  and  that  drafts  could  not  be 
negotiated  except  at  a  ruinous  discount.  At  the  same 
time,  disbursements  were  heavy,  in  consequence  of 
the  small  garrisons,  and  the  necessity  of  hiring  laborers 
and  guards  for  the  quartermaster  storehouses,  at 
''tremendous  wages;"  namely,  from  $50  to  $100 

20  There  was  the  Anita,  purchased  by  the  govt  for  the  quartermaster's 
dept,  and  placed  under  past  midshipman  Selim  E.  Woodworth,  who  it  will 
be  remembered  arrived  overland  with  the  Oregon  immigration  the  previous 
year.     She  is  mentioned  in  the  California  Star,  Feb.  26,  1848.     She  was  armed 
with  two  guns,  to  be  used  as  a  man-of-war  on  the  upper  California  coast,  and 
manned  with  seamen  from  the  sloop-of-war  Warren  at  Monterey.     The  ships 
Jsabella  and  Sweden  arrived  in  Feb.  with  recruits  for  N.  Y.  vols.,  who  were 
employed  in  garrisoning  the  Cal.  military  posts.     The  Huntress  arrived  later 
with  recruits,  who  nearly  all  deserted.  H.  Ex.  Doc.,  31,  i.,  no.  17,  pp.  648-9. 

21  The  history  of  the  arrival  in  Cal.  of  Comp.  F,  3d  artillery,  Jan.  1847, 
the  N.  Y.  volunteers  in  March  1847  and  Feb.  1848,  and  a  battalion  of  dra 
goons  from  Mexico  in  Aug.  1848,  is  given  in  my  Hist.  Cal.,  v.,  ch.  xix. 

22  Lancy,  Cruise  of  the  Dale,  222;  Grimshaw,  Narr.,  MS.,  12-13. 

23  Calif ornian,  S.  F.,  Dec.  23,  1848. 

24  H.  Ex.  Doc.,  17,  p.  641.     See  order  of  A.  A.  Adjut.  W.  T.  Sherman 


It  was  indeed  a  difficult  position  to  occupy,  that  of 
chief  in  a  country  where  the  forts  were  without  sol 
diers,  ordnance  without  troops  enough  to  guard  it, 
towns  without  able-bodied  men  left  in  them;  a  colonial 
territory  without  laws  or  legislators,  or  communication 
with  the  home  government,  or  even  with  the  navy, 
for  many  months.  "The  army  officers,"  writes  one  of 
them,  "could  have  seized  the  large  amount  of  funds  in 
their  hands,  levied  heavily  on  the  country,  and  been 
living  comfortably  in  New  York  for  the  last  year,  and 
not  a  soul  at  Washington  be  the  wiser  or  worse  for  it. 
Indeed,  such  is  the  ease  with  which  power  can  go  un 
checked  and  crime  unpunished  in  this  region,  that  it 
will  be  hard  for  the  officers  to  resist  temptation ;  for  a 
salary  here  is  certain  poverty  and  debt,  unless  one 
makes  up  by  big  hauls."  That  temptations  were  not 
yielded  to  under  these  circumstances25  redounds  to  the 
honorable  repute  of  disbursing  officers  and  collectors 
of  the  special  war  tax  known  afterward  as  the  civil 

This  was  a  duty  levied  on  imports  by  the  United 
States  authorities  in  California  during  the  military 
occupation  of  and  previous  to  the  extension  of  custom 
house  laws  over  the  country,26  and  amounted  in  1849 
to  $600,000.  The  custodian  of  this  fund  in  1848  at 
San  Francisco  was  Assistant  Quartermaster  Captain 
J.  L.  Folsom,  who  was  under  no  bonds,  and  account- 
relative  to  purchasing  or  receiving  arms,  clothing,  etc.,  from  deserters,  in 
California  Star,  June  14,  1848. 

25  Reference  to  the  Cal.  Star  and  CaUfornian  of  Dec.  9  and  16,  1848,  reveals 
the  fact  that  Gov.  Mason  and  his  adjutant,  Sherman,  were  driven  by  inade 
quate  salaries  to  attempt  some  unofficial  operations  to  eke  out  a  living. 
Charles  E.  Pickett,  who,  whether  he  was  on  the  banks  of  the  Willamette,  the 
shores  of  S.  F.  Bay,  or  among  the  peaks  of  the  Sierra,  was  always  critic-in-chief 
of  the  community  afflicted  with  his  presence,  was  the  author  of  charges 
against  these  officers,  and  against  Capt.  Folsom,  which  had  their  foundation 
in  these  efforts.  Sherman  tells  us  in  his  Memoirs,  64-5,  that  Mason  never 
speculated,  although  urged  to  do  so;  but  '  did  take  a  share  in  the  store  which 
Warner,  Bestor,  and  I  opened  at  Coloma,  paid  his  share  of  the  capital,  $500, 
and  received  his  share  of  the  profits,  $1,500.  I  think  he  also  took  a  share  in 
a  venture  to  China  with  Lark  in  and  others;  but  on  leaving  Cal.  was  glad  to 
sell  out  without  profit  or  loss.'  Com.  Jones  was  convicted  in  1851  of  specu 
lating  in  gold-dust  with  govt  funds,  and  sentenced  to  suspension  from  the 
navy  for  5  years,  with  loss  of  pay  for  half  that  time. 

™Gwin,  Memoirs,  MS.,  40,  111;  Crosby,  Events  in  Cal,  MS.,  43. 


able  to  no  one  except  his  commanding  officer.  He 
was,  in  fact,  collecting  duties  from  American  importers 
as  if  he  were  the  servant  of  a  foreign  power,  whereas 
he  was,  in  that  capacity,  the  servant  of  no  power  at 
all,  there  being  no  government  existing  in  California 
after  the  30th  of  May,  1848.  The  fund,  however, 
proved  a  very  convenient  treasury  to  fall  back  upon 
during  the  no-government  period,  as  we  shall  see  here 

Notwithstanding  the  treaty,  the  opinion  was  preva 
lent  that  congress  would  fail  to  establish  a  territorial 
government,  it  being  well  understood  that  the  question 
of  slavery  would  obstruct  the  passage  of  a  territorial 
bill ,  but  the  difficulties  already  referred  to,  with  the 
necessity  for  mining  laws  and  an  alarming  increase  in 
crime,  furnished  sufficient  ground  on  which  the  agi 
tators  might  reasonably  demand  an  organization,  or  at 
least  a  governor  and  council,  which  they  insisted  that 
Mason,  as  commander  of  the  United  States  forces,  had 
the  power  to  appoint.  But  Mason  knew  that  while 
the  president  would  willingly  enough  have  conferred 
on  him  this  power,  had  he  himself  possessed  it,  with 
out  the  consent  of  congress,  no  such  authority  existed 
anywhere  out  of  congress ;  and  what  the  president  could 
not  do,  he  could  not  undertake.  The  agitators  were 
thus  compelled  to  wait  to  hear  what  action  had  been 
taken  by  congress  before  proceeding  to  take  affairs  in 
their  own  hands. 

The  subject  received  a  fresh  impetus  by  the  arrival 
in  November  of  Commodore  Jones,  with  whom  Mason 
had  a  conference.  It  was  agreed  between  them  that 

27  There  was  no  system  of  direct  taxation  existing  in  California  before  it 
become  a  state  of  the  union.  The  only  revenue  Mexico  derived  from  it  was 
that  produced  by  a  high  tariff  on  imports.  The  '  military  contributions, '  as 
the  U  S  govt  was  pleased  to  denominate  this  revenue,  diverted  to  itself, 
have  been  the  subject  of  much  discussion.  Dr  Robert  Semple,  in  an  article  in 
the  Calif ornian  of  Oct  21,  1848,  states  that  there  was  no  show  of  right  to  col 
lect  this  tariff  after  the  war  had  ceased,  but  that  the  ports,  coasts,  bays,  and 
rivers  of  Upper  California  were  '  as  free  as  the  island  of  Juan  Fernandez, '  in 
point  of  fact,  until  the  revenue  laws  of  the  U.  S.  were  extended  over  them. 
But  the  collection  went  on,  and  the  American  shipping-masters  and  mer 
chants  paid  it 


should  congress  prove  to  have  adjourned  without  pro 
viding  a  government  for  California,  the  people  should 
be  assisted  to  organize  a  temporary  constitution  for 
themselves,28  and  Mason  was  understood  as  promising 
to  turn  over  to  the  provisional  government  the  civil 
service  fund,  above  alluded  to,29  for  its  expenses. 

Time  passed,  and  the  last  vessel  on  which  any  com 
munications  from  Washington  could  be  hoped  for  had 
arrived,  while  the  agitators  openly  declared  that  the 
government  evidently  intended  that  they,  its  military 
officers,  should  have  taken  the  responsibility  of  making 
matters  easy  for  the  people  in  the  establishment  of  a 
civil  organization,  the  inference  being,  that  they  were 
exercising  unjustifiable  power  in  impeding  it.  An 
agent  was,  however,  actually  on  his  way  at  that  mo 
ment,  who  was  commissioned  to  observe  and  report 
upon  the  character  and  disposition  of  the  inhabitants, 
with  a  view  to  determining  whether  it  were  wise  or 
not  to  encourage  political  movements  in  California,  in 
the  event  of  the  struggle  in  congress  over  slavery  be 
ing  prolonged.  The  letter  of  instructions  furnished  to 
this  agent30  by  Secretary  Buchanan  contained,  indeed, 
no  such  admission.  On  the  contrary,  after  expressing 
the  regrets  of  the  president  that  California  had  not 
received  a  territorial  government,  the  secretary  "  ur 
gently  advised  the  people  of  California  to  live  peace 
ably  and  quietly  under  the  existing  government," 
consoling  themselves  with  the  reflection  that  it  would 
endure  but  for  a  few  months,  or  until  the  next  session 
of  congress.  But  to  live  peaceably  and  quietly  under 
the  government  de  facto,  half  Mexican  and  half  mili- 

28  Calif 'onian,  S   F.,  Oct.  21,  1848;  TutMl,  Hist.  Cal,  247. 

^Unbound  Doc.,  MS.,  140-1;  Star  and  Califorman,  Nov.  18,  1848. 

so  William  V.  Voorhies  was  the  agent  employed  by  the  postmaster-general 
to  make  arrangements  for  the  establishing  of  post-offices,  and  for  the  trans 
mission,  receipt,  and  conveyance  of  letters  in  Oregon  and  California. '  To  him 
was  intrusted  the  secretary's  open  message  to  the  people  of  Cal.,  and  such 
instructions  as  concerned  more  private  matters.  Buchanan's  letter  recog 
nizing  the  govt  left  at  the  termination  of  the  war  as  still  existing  and  valid, 
when  not  in  contradiction  to  the  constitution  of  the  U.  S.,  is  found  in  Amer. 
Quart.  Rey.,  iv.  510-13;  and  in  Ex.  Doc.,  i.,  accompanying  the  president's 
message  at  the  2d  sess.  of  the  30th  cong. 


tary,  was  what  they  had  decided  they  were  unable 
to  do.  Before  the  message  arrived  they  had  begun  to 
act  upon  their  own  convictions,  and  were  not  likely  to 
be  turned  back.31  Meantime,  to  the  population  already 

31  Proofs  of  this  were  not  lacking.  Mrs  Hetty  C.  Brown  of  S.  F.,  having 
been  deserted  by  her  husband,  applied  to  the  governor  for  a  divorce  in  Dec. 
1847.  He  decided  that  neither  he  nor  any  alcalde  had  the  authority  to  grant 
a  divorce;  but  gave  it  as  his  opinion  that  there  being  no  law  in  Cal.  on  the 
subject  of  divorce,  and  she  being  left  without  any  support,  she  might  view 
her  husband  as  dead,  so  far  as  she  was  concerned.  Unbound  Doc.,  MS.,  137. 
Continual  complaints  were  made  of  the  alcaldes.  Pickett  wrote  to  Gen. 
Kearny,  in  March  1849,  that  John  H.  Nash,  alcalde  at  Sonoma,  was  ignorant, 
conceited,  and  dogmatical,  and  governed  by  whims;  he  was  also  under  the 
influence  of  a  pettifogger  named  Green.  The  unrestricted  powers  assumed 
by  these  magistrates  were  laying  the  foundations  for  much  litigation  in  the 
future  when  their  decisions  would  be  appealed  from.  J.  S.  Ruckel  wrote  to 
the  gov.  Dec.  28th  on  the  affairs  of  the  pueblo  of  San  Jose"  that  '  matters  which 
were  originally  bad  are  growing  worse  and  worse — large,  portions  of  the  popu 
lation  lazy  and  addicted  to  gambling  have  no  visible  means  of  livelihood,  and 
of  course  must  support  themselves  by  stealing  cattle  or  horses ....  Wanted, 
an  alcalde  who  is  not  afraid  to  do  his  duty,  and  who  knows  what  his  duty  is. ' 
On  the  other  hand,  there  were  complaints  that  Monterey  was  frequently  visited 
by  '  American  desperadoes,  who  committed  assaults  on  the  native  population, 
and  defied  the  authorities.  They  were  at  last  put  down;  some  were  shot  on 
the  spot,  and  some  were  afterwards  disposed  of  by  lynch  law. '  Roach,  Facts, 
on  California,  MS.,  5.  Charles  White,  alcalde  of  San  Jose,  wrote  to  Gov. 
Mason  in  March  1848,  that  he  had  received  information  of  60  men  organizing, 
and  daily  receiving  recruits,  who  had  constant  comnrinication  with  volun 
teers  in  the  service,  who  had  in  view  to  soon  attack  the  prison  at  Monterey 
and  release  the  prisoners.  '  They  also  have  formed  the  plan  of  establishing 
an  independent  government  in  California.  They  are  well  armed;  the  good 
people  of  the  country  standing  in  fear  of  exposing  these  people,  lest  they 
might  be  killed  in  revenge.'  Unbound  Doc.,  MS.,  169.  Immigrants  had  taken 
possession  of  the  missions  of  San  Jose  and  Santa  Clara,  injured  the  buildings, 
and  destroyed  the  vineyards  and  orchards,  having  no  respect  to  any  part  of 
them  except  the  churches.  At  the  same  time  wild  Indians  were  making  or 
ganized  and  successful  raids  on  the  stock  belonging  to  Americans  and  immi 
grants,  and  were  aided  by  the  mission  Indians.  W.  G.  Dana  writing  from 
San  Luis  Obispo  in  June  1847,  complained  that  'society  was  reduced  to  the 
most  horrid  state.  The  whole  place  has  for  a  long  time  past  been  a  complete 
sink  of  drunkenness  and  debauchery. '  Murders  were  also  reported  by  the 
alcalde.  Affairs  were  a  little  less  deplorable  at  the  more  southern  missions, 
where  lawless  persons,  both  native  and  foreign,  committed  depredations  on 
mission  property  everywhere.  In  July  1848  a  meeting  was  held  at  S.  F.  to 
consider  the  question  of  currency,  and  a  committee  consisting  of  W.  D.  M. 
Howard,  C.  V.  Gillespie,  and  James  C.  Ward  presented  to  Gov.  Mason  the 
following  resolutions:  1st.  That  the  gov'r  be  petitioned  to  appoint  one  or 
more  assayers  to  test  the  quality  of  the  gold  taken  from  the  placers  on  the 
Sacramento.  2d.  That  the  gov'r  he  asked  to  extend  the  time  allowed  for 
the  redemption  of  the  gold-dust,  deposited  as  collateral  security  for  payment 
of  duties,  to  6  months,  so  as  to  allow  time  for  the  importation  of  coined  money 
into  the  country  for  that  purpose.  3d.  That  the  gov'r  be  requested  to  ap 
point  a  competent  person  to  superintend  the  conversion  of  gold  into  ingots  of 
convenient  weights,  the  same  to  be  stamped  with  the  name  of  the  person  fur 
nishing  the  gold  to  be  cast;  the  weight,  and  if  possible,  its  fineness,  in  refer 
ence  to  standard;  the  said  officer  to  keep  a  record  of  all  the  gold  cast,  the 
expense  of  casting  to  be  defrayed  by  the  person  furnishing  the  raw  material. 


in  the  country  were  added  a  company  of  miners  from 
the  "state  of  Deseret,"  and  several  companies  from  the 
province  of  Oregon.  These  were  all  men  who  had 
supported  independent  governments;  some  of  them 
had  assisted  in  forming  one,  and  regarded  themselves 
as  experienced  in  state-craft.  There  was  also  consid 
erable  overland  immigration  in  the  autumn. 

The  murder  in  the  mining  district  of  Mr  Pomeroyand 
a  companion  in  November,  for  the  gold-dust  they  car 
ried,  furnished  the  occasion  seized  upon  by  the  Star  and 
Calif omian  of  renewing  the  agitation  for  a  civil  govern 
ment.  Meetings  were  held  December  11,  1 8  4  8 ,  at  San 
Jose;  December  21st,  at  San  Francisco;  and  at  Sacra 
mento  on  the  6th  and  8th  of  January,  1849.32  The  San 

Last  resolution  not  carried.  4th.  Appointment  of  a  committee  to  petition 
congress  to  establish  a  mint  in  this  town — the  petition  to  be  circulated  in  the 
Sacramento  Valley  and  elsewhere  for  signatures.  The  said  committee  to 
consist  of  C.  V.  Gillespie,  James  C.  Ward,  W.  D.  M.  Howard,  and  Capt. 
Joseph  L.  Folsom,  U.  S.  A.  M.,  136-7. 

32  The  meeting  was  held  at  the  alcalde's  office  in  San  Jose,  Charles  White 
in  the  chair;  James  Stokes,  Maj.  Thomas  Campbell,  Julius  Martin,  vice-prests; 
P.  B.  Cornwall,  William  L.  Beeles,  sees;  Capt.  K.  H.  Dimmick,  Ord,  Ben 
jamin  Cory,  Myron  Norton,  and  J.  D.  Hoppe  were  appointed  a  committee  to 
frame  resolutions.  The  meeting  was  addressed  by  O.  C.  Pratt  of  111.  A  con 
vention  was  appointed  for  the  2d  Monday  in  Jan.,  and  Dimmick,  Cory,  and 
Hoppe  elected  delegates.  Star  and  Californian,  Dec.  23,  1848.  Reports  of 
these  meetings  are  contained  in  the  A  ltd  California,  then  published  by  Edward 
Gilbert,  Edward  Kemble,  and  George  C.  Hubbard,  and  supporting  the  provis 
ional  govt  movement.  Of  the  Sac.  meetings  Peter  H.  Burnett,  who  had  been 
judge  and  legislator  in  Oregon,  and  helped  to  form  the  Oregon  laws,  was 
president.  The  vice-prests  were  Frank  Bates  and  M.  D.  Winship;  and  the 
sacs  Jeremiah  Sherwood  and  George  McKinstry.  A  committee  consisting 
of  Samuel  Brannan,  John  S.  Fowler,  John  Sinclair,  P.  B.  Reading,  and  Bar 
ton  Lee  was  appointed  to  frame  a  set  of  resolutions  which  should  express  the 
sense  of  the  meeting.  These  resolutions  recited  that  congress  had  not  ex 
tended  the  laws  of  the  U.  S.  over  the  country,  as  recommended  by  the  prest, 
but  had  left  it  without  protection;  that  the  frequency  of  robberies  and  mur 
ders  had  deeply  impressed  the  people  with  the  necessity  of  having  some  reg 
ular  form  of  government,  with  laws  and  officers  to  enforce  them;  that  the 
discovery  of  gold  would  attract  immigration  from  all  parts  of  the  world,  and 
add  to  the  existing  danger  and  confusion;  therefore,  that  trusting  to  the  govt 
and  people  of  the  U.  S.  for  sanction,  it  was  resolved  that  it  was  not  only 
proper  but  necessary  that  the  inhabitants  of  Cal.  should  form  a  provisional 
govt  and  administer  the  same;  and  that  while  lamenting  the  inactivity  of 
congress  in  their  behalf,  they  still  desired  to  manifest  their  confidence  in  and 
loyalty  to  the  U.  S.  rihe  proceedings  of  the  San  Jose  and  S.  F.  meetings 
were  concurred  in,  and  the  people  were  recommended  to  hold  meetings  and 
elect  delegates  to  represent  them  in  a  convention  to  be  held  March  Cth  at 
San  Jose  for  the  purpose  of  draughting  a  form  of  govt  to  be  submitted  to  the 
people  for  their  sanction.  A  meeting  was  appointed  to  take  place  on  the  15th 
to  elect  5  delegates  from  that  district  to  the  convention  at  San  Jose.  A  com 
mittee  was  chosen  by  the  prest  to  correspond  with  the  other  districts;  namely, 


Jose  meeting  recommended  that  the  convention  assem 
ble  at  that  place  on  the  second  Monday  of  January; 
the  San  Francisco  meeting,  that  the  convention  should 
assemble  on  the  5th  day  of  March;  but  on  the  24th 
of  January  the  corresponding  committee  of  San  Fran 
cisco  notified  a  postponement  of  the  convention  to  the 
6th  of  May.33  The  reasons  given  for  the  change  of 
date  were  the  inclemency  of  the  weather,  making  it 
difficult  to  communicate  with  the  southern  districts; 
and  recent  intelligence  from  the  United  States,  from 
which  it  appeared  probable  that  congress  would  organ 
ize  a  territorial  government  before  the  adjournment  of 
the  session  ending  March  4th.  A  month  being  al 
lowed  for  the  receipt  of  information,34  there  could  be  no 
further  objection  to  the  proposed  convention  should 
congress  again  disappoint  them.  All  these  circum 
stances  together  operated  to  defeat  the  movement  for 
a  convention.  The  Sacramento  delegates,  Charles  E. 
Pickett  and  John  Sinclair,  protested  against  a  change 
of  time,  but  the  majority  prevailed,  and  the  conven- 

Frank  Bates,  P.  B.  Reading,  and  John  S.  Fowler.  Frank  Bates,  Barton  Lee, 
and  Albert  Priest  were  appointed  judges  of  the  election  of  delegates.  A  res 
olution  was  offered  by  Sam  Brannan  that  the  delegates  be  instructed  to 
'  oppose  slavery  in  every  shape  and  form  in  the  territory  of  California,'  which 
was  adopted.  Burnett,  RecoLL,  295-8.  The  meeting  at  S.  F.  was  presided 
over  by  John  Townsend;  William  S.  Clark  and  J.  C.  Ward  were  chosen  vice- 
prests,  and  William  M.  Smith  and  S.  S.  Howison  sees.  The  committee  on 
resolutions  consisted  of  Edward  Gilbert,  George  Hyde,  B.  R.  Buckelew, 
Henry  A.  Schoolcraft,  Myron  Norton,  Henry  M.  Naglee,  and  James  Creigh- 
ton.  They  reported  on  the  23d,  and  their  resolutions  were  adopted.  Gilbert, 
Ward,  Hyde,  Toler,  and  Davis  were  appointed  judges  of  election.  Buckelew 
moved  that  duties  collected  at  all  ports  in  Cal.,  after  the  ratification  of  the 
treaty  of  peace  in  Aug.,  rightfully  belonged  to  Cal.;  and  furthermore,  that  as 
the  U.  S.  congress  had  not  provided  a  government  for  the  people  of  the  ter 
ritory,  '  such  duties  as  have  been  collected  since  the  disbandment  of  the  ex 
traordinary  military  force  justly  belongs  to  the  people  of  this  territory,  and 
should  be  claimed  for  our  benefit  by  the  govt  we  may  succeed  in  creating. ' 
Adopted  after  some  debate;  Gilbert,  Ward,  and  Hyde  were  appointed  corre 
sponding  committee.  Star  and  Californian,  Dec.  23,  1848. 

83  Alta  Calif brnia,  Jan.  24,  1849;  S.  F.  Minutes  Proceedinys  Legis.  Assem., 
etc.,  296  (no.  1,  in  8.  F.  Hist.  Inc.,  etc.).  Meetings  were  held  at  Santa  Cruz  and 
Monterey  to  elect  delegates  to  the  convention  in  May.  Santa  Cruz  delegates 
were  William  Blackburn,  J.  L.  Majors,  Eli  Moore,  John  Dobindiss,  J.  G.  S. 
Dunleavy,  Henry  Speal,  and  Juan  Gonzales.  Arch.  Sta  Cruz,  102.  Walter 
Colton  draughted  the  resolutions  for  the  Monterey  meeting.  Colton,  Three. 
Years,  393;  An.  S.  F.,  136;  Mendocino  Co.  Hist.,  269-319. 

34  The  ocean  mail  steamers  were  announced  to  commence  their  regular 
trips  between  Panama  and  California  and  Oregon  early  in  the  spring. 


tion  was  finally  postponed  to  the  first  Monday  of 
August,35  when,  should  congress  not  then  have  created 
a  territorial  government  for  California,  there  should 
be  no  further  delay  in  organizing  a  provisional  gov 
ernment.  In  the  mean  time  event  crowded  on  the 
heels  of  event,  changing  the  purposes  of  the  people  as 
their  condition  changed. 

With  the  expiration  of  1848  expired  also  the  term 
of  the  town  council  of  San  Francisco  which  Mason 
had  authorized  in  August  of  the  previous  year.  By 
a  municipal  law,  an  election  for  their  successors  was 
held  on  the  27th  of  December,  when  seven  new  coun- 
cilmen  were  chosen.  The  former  council36  declared  the 
election  fraudulent  and  void,  and  ordered  a  new  one. 
A  majority  of  the  population  opposed  this  unwarrant 
able  assumption  of  power,  and  refused  to  attend,  but 
an  election  was  held  and  another  council  chosen. 
Until  the  15th  of  January,  when  the  old  council  voted 
itself  out  of  existence,  three  town  governments  were 
in  operation  at  the  same  time,  and  the  two  remaining 
ones  for  some  weeks  longer.  Wearied  and  exasper 
ated  by  the  confusion  in  their  affairs,  the  people  of 
San  Francisco  district  called  a  meeting  on  the  12th 
of  February,  at  which  it  was  resolved  to  elect  a  legis 
lative  assembly  of  fifteen  members,  who  should  be 
empowered  to  make  such  necessary  laws  "as  did  not 
conflict  with  the  constitution  of  the  United  States, 
nor  the  common  law  thereof."37  This  legislative  body 

35 This  postponement  was  made  in  a  communication  addressed  to  the  AUa 
Cal  of  March  22d,  signed  by  the  following  delegates:  W.  M.  Steuart, 
Myron  Norton,  Francis  J.  Lippitt,  from  S.  F.;  Charles  T.  Bolts,  Monterey; 
J.  D.  Stevenson,  Los  Angeles;  R.  Semple,  Benicia;  John  B.  Frisbie  and  M. 
G.  Vallejo,  Sonoma;  S.  Brannan,  J.  A.  Sutter,  Samuel  J.  Hensley,  and  P.  B. 
Reading,  from  Sac. 

36  Refer  to  note  11,  this  chapter,  for  names. 

37  M.  Norton  presided  at  the  meeting  of  the  12th,  and  T.  W.  Perkins  acted 
as  sec'y.     The  preamble  to  the  ordinances  established  by  the  meeting  recited 
that  'the  people  of  S.  F.,  perceiving  the  necessity  of  having  some  better  de 
fined  and  more  permanent  civil  regulations  for  our  general  security  than  the 
vague,  unlimited,  and  irresponsible  authority  that  now  exists,  do,  in  general 
convention  assembled,  hereby  establish  and  ordain. '     Then  follow  the  regu 
lations.  AUa  Cat.,  Feb.  15,  1849. 


also  appointed  an  election  of  three  justices  of  the  peace, 
abolished  the  office  of  alcalde,  his  books  and  papers 
being  ordered  to  be  resigned  to  one  of  the  justices; 
and  abolished  both  the  town  councils,  the  members 
being  commanded  to  send  their  resignations  to  a  com 
mittee  appointed  to  receive  them.38  The  election  of 
the  legislative  assembly  and  justices  was  ordered  for 
the  21st  of  the  month,  and  took  place;  but  as  there 
was  no  actual  power  in  the  legislature  to  enforce  its 
acts,  the  new  government  threatened  to  prove  as  pow 
erless  for  good  as  its  predecessor.  The  alcalde  Leav- 
enworth  refused  to  relinquish  the  town  records39  to 
the  chief  magistrate,  Norton,  as  directed ;  and  such  was 
the  pressure  of  private  business  that  it  was  found 
difficult  to  procure  a  quorum  at  the  meetings  of  the 
legislature.  To  correct  the  latter  defect  in  the  govern 
ment,  the  members  were  added  to  the  assembly  in 
May,  and  the  offices  of  register,  sheriff,  and  treasurer 

On  the  26th  of  February,  five  days  after  the  first 
election  of  assemblymen,  there  arrived  at  San  Fran 
cisco  the  mail  steamer  California,  having  on  board 
General  Persifer  F.  Smith,  who  as  commander  of  the 
military  division  of  California  superseded  Colonel 
Mason.  Smith  blundered,  as  military  men  are  prone 
to  do  in  managing  civil  affairs.  He  wrote  to  the 
secretary  of  war  from  Panamji  that  he  was  "partly 
inclined  to  think  it  would  be  right  for  me  to  prohibit 
foreigners  from  taking  the  gold,  unless  they  intend  to 
become  citizens."  Next  he  wrote  to  the  consuls  on 
South  American  coast  "that  the  laws  of  the  United 
States  forbade  trespassing  on  the  public  lands,"  and 
that  on  arriving  in  California  he  should  enforce  this 
law  against  persons  not  citizens.  To  the  secretary  he 
again  wrote:  "I  shall  consider  every  one  not  a  citizen 
of  the  United  States,  who  enters  on  public  land  and 
digs  for  gold,  as  a  trespasser,  and  shall  enforce  that 

38  The  eommitteemen  were  Alfred  J.  Ellis,  Wm  F.  Swasey,  B.  K.  Bucke- 
lew,  and  George  Hyde.  Burnett,  fiecoll.,  310. 
3*Fmdlat  Statement,  MS.,  10. 


view  of  the   matter  if  possible,  depending  upon  the 
distinction  made  in  favor  of  American  citizens  to  en- 

fage  the  assistance  of  the  latter  in  carrying  out  what 
propose.  All  are  undoubtedly  trespassers ;  but  as 
congress  has  hitherto  made  distinctions  in  favor  of 
early  settlers  by  granting  preemptions,  the  difficulties 
of  present  circumstances  in  California  may  justify  for 
bearance  with  regard  to  citizens,  to  whom  some  favor 
may  be  hereafter  granted." 

This  doctrine  of  trespass  furnished  the  Hounds,  an 
organized  band  of  Australian  criminals  and  deserting 
English  sailors,  with  their  only  apology  for  robbing 
every  Mexican  01  Californian  they  met,  upon  the 
ground  that  they  were  foreigners,  at  least  not  citizens; 
and  passports  had  actually  to  be  furnished  to  these 
people  in  the  land  where  they  were  born.40  The 
Hounds  did  not  long  remain,  but  had  their  conge  from 
the  authorities  civil  and  military. 

To  General  Smith  the  legislature  of  San  Francisco 
district  addressed  a  letter  inviting  his  sympathy  and 
support,  to  which  he  returned  a  noncommittal  reply, 
without  attempting  to  interfere  with  the  operations  of 
the  experimental  government.  There  was  no  exigency 
requiring  him  to  intermeddle  while  awaiting  the  action 
of  congress,  drawing  to  a  close,  and  the  incoming  of  a 
new  national  administration  whose  policy  was  yet  un 
known.  The  community  in  general  supporting  the 
assembly,  the  sheriff,  furnished  by  Judge  Xorton  with 
a  writ  of  replevin,  and  assisted  by  a  number  of  volun 
teer  deputies,  finally  compelled  Alcalde  Leavenworth 
to  surrender  the  records,  which  were  deposited  in  the 
court-house,  where  justice  was  hereafter  to  be  admin 
istered.  This  did  not  occur,  however,  before  the  in 
action  of  congress  had  become  known,  and  California 
had  received  another  governor. 

I  think  the  American  inhabitants  of  California 
exhibited  great  and  undeserved  animosity  toward 

"Ex.  Doc.,  311,  no.  17,  p.  703-6,  708-10,  869,  870;  Amer<  Quart.  Reg.,  ii. 

HIST.  CAT,.,  VOL.  VI.    18 


Colonel  Mason  in  his  position  as  governor.  They 
failed  to  remember  that  it  required  as  much  patience 
in  him  to  govern  them,  as  it  did  in  them  to  be  governed 
by  him.  Into  his  ear  for  nearly  two  years  had  been 
poured  an  incessant  stream  of  complaints  from  both 
the  natives  and  themselves  Quite  often  enough  they 
had  been  in  the  wrong  If  they  did  not  steal  horses 
and  cattle  like  the  Indians,  or  rob  and  assassinate  like 
the  Mexicans,  they  had  other  ways  of  being  selfish 
and  unchristian — not  to  say  criminal — which  made 
bad  blood  in  those  ruder  people.  He  did  the  best  he 
could  between  them  all.  Had  his  soldiers  not  ab 
sconded  to  the  gold  mines,  even  then  he  would  have 
required  ten  times  their  number  to  keep  up  a  police 
system  throughout  the  country.  Only  law  can  reach 
to  every  part  of  a  territory,  but  to  do  that  it  must  be 
organized;  and  here  was  just  where  Mason's  delin 
quencies  were  most  flagrant.  He  was  not  an  execu 
tive  officer  according  to  law,  but  a  military  governor, 
which  as  they  reasoned  was  an  offence  in  time  of  peace. 
That  he  was  only  obeying  instructions,  and  that  he 
had  leaned  to  their  side  while  executing  his  trust,  did 
not  serve  to  soften  the  asperity  of  their  judgment,  and 
no  friendly  regrets  were  expressed  when  his  successor 
relieved  him  of  his  thankless  office.41  He  left  Califor 
nia  on  the  1st  of  May,  and  died  of  cholera  at  St  Louis 
the  same  summer,  at  the  age  of  sixty  years.42 

41  The  orders  of  Gen.  Smith  were  dated  Nov.  15,  1848,  and  ran  as  follows: 
*  By  direction  of  the  prest,  you  are  hereby  assigned,  under  and  by  virtue  of 
your  rank  of  brev.  brig. -gen.  of  the  army  of  the  U.  S.,  to  the  command  of 
the  third  geographical  or  Pacific  division,  and  will  proceed  by  way  of  New 
Orleans,  thence  to  Chagres,  and  across  the  isthmus  of  Panama  to  Cal.,  and 
assume  the  command  of  the  said  division.  You  will  establish  your  head 
quarters  either  in  Cal.  or  Or.,  and  change  them  from  time  to  time,  as  the 
exigencies  of  the  public  service  may  require.  Besides  the  general  duties  of 
clafanding  the  territories  of  Cal.  and  Or.,  and  of  preserving  peace  arid  protect 
ing  the  inhabitants  from  Indian  depredations,  you  will  carry  out  the  orders 
and  instructions  contained  in  the  letter  from  the  department  to  Col  R.  B. 
I.Iason,  a  copy  of  which  you  are  herewith  furnished,  and  such  other  orders 
au:l  instructions  as  you  may  receive  from  your  govt.'  H.  Ex.  Doc.,  31,  1,  no. 
17,  p.  2G4-5. 

42 Sherman  in  his  Memoirs,  64,  says:  'He  possessed  a  strong  native  intel 
lect,  and  far  more  knowledge  of  the  principles  of  civil  government  and  law 
than  he  got  credit  for; '  and  '  he  was  the  very  embodiment  of  the  principle  of 
fidelity  to  the  interests  of  the  gen.  govt. ' 


On  the  12th  of  April  the  transport  ship  Iowa  landed 
at  Monterey  brevet  Brigadier-general  Bennett  Riley,43 
lieutenant-colonel  2d  infantry,  with  his  brigade.44 
Riley  had  instructions  from  the  secretary  of  war  to 
assume  the  administration  of  civil  affairs  in  California, 
not  as  a  military  governor,  but  as  the  executive  of  the 
existing  civil  government.  According  to  contempo 
rary  accounts,  he  was  a  "grim  old  fellow,"  and  a  "fine 
free  swearer."45  According  to  his  own  statement  he 
was  not  much  acquainted  with  civil  affairs,  but  knew 
how  to  obey  orders.  He  also  knew  how  to  make 
others  obey  orders — except  in  California.  Here  his 
soldiers  soon  deserted,46  leaving  him  without  the 
means  of  enforcing  the  laws.  In  this  dilemma  his 
good  sense  came  to  his  aid,  and  on  the  3d  of  June, 
having  sent  the  steamer  Edith  to  Mazatlan  for  the 
necessary  intelligence,  and  learning  that  nothing  had 
been  done  by  congress  toward  the  establishment  of  a 
territorial  government,  he  issued  a  proclamation  show 
ing  that  he  had  lost  no  time  in  improving  his  knowl 
edge  of  civil  affairs.  He  endeavored  to  remove  the 
prejudice  against  a  military  government  by  putting 
it  out  of  sight;  and  proposed  a  scheme  of  civil  gov 
ernment,  which  he  assured  them  should  be  temporary, 
but  which  while  it  existed  must  be  recognized.  The 
laws  of  California,  not  inconsistent  with  the  laws, 
constitution,  and  treaties  of  the  United  States,  he 
declared  to  be  in  force  until  changed  by  competent 
authority,  which  did  not  exist  in  a  provisional  legisla- 

"Larldn,  Doc.,  MS.,  vi.  203;  Aug.  Arch.,  MS.,  iii.  245,  246,272;  H.  Ex. 
Doc.,  31,  1,  no.  17,  p.  873;  Willey,  Personal  Memoranda,  MS.,  119;  Hyde, 
Statement,  MS.,  12;  Capran,  Cal,  44;  Tinkham,  Hist.  Stockton,  120;  Hist. 
Los  Angeles,  46;  Sol.  Co.  Hist.,  438;  Sherman,  Mem.,  i.  10. 

4iThe  brigade,  650  strong,  was  officered  as  follows:  Lieut  Hay  den,  com 
manding  officer  of  Co.  H;  Turner,  surgeon;  adjutant,  Jones,  com'd'g  Cos.  C 
and  G;  Lieut  A.  Sully,  regimental  quartermaster  and  commissary,  com'd'g 
Co.  K;  Lieut  Murray,  Co.  J;  Lieut  Schareman,  Co.  A;  Lieut  Jarvis,  Co.  B;  2d 
Lieut  Hendershot,  Co.  F;  2d  Lieut  Johnson,  Co.  E;  2d  Lieut  Sweeny,  Co.  D. 
N.  Y.  Herald,  Sept  19,  1848,  in  Niles'  Reg.,  Ixxiv.  193. 

**  Foster's  Angeles  in  1847,  MS.,  17-18.  He  had  a  defect  in  his  speech,  and 
was  55  or  56  years  old.  Val.,  Doc.,  MS.,  35,  116;  S.  D.  Arch.,  MS.,  ii.  349; 
Neal,  Vig.  Com.,  MS.,  23. 

46  Crosby,  Statement,  MS.,  30-2;  Burnett,  Recoil,  333-4. 


ture.  The  situation  of  California  was  not  identical 
with  that  of  Oregon,  which  was  without  laws  until  a 
provisional  government  was  formed;  but  was  nearly 
identical  with  that  of  Louisiana,  whose  laws  were 
recognized  as  valid  until  constitutionally  repealed. 
He  proposed  to  put  in  vigorous  operation  the  existing 
laws  as  designed  by  the  central  government,  but  to 
give  an  American  character  to  the  administration  by 
making  the  officers  of  the  law  elective  instead  of  ap 
pointive;  and  at  the  same  time  proposed  a  convention 
of  delegates  from  every  part  of  the  territory  to  form 
a  state  constitution  or  territorial  organization,  to  be 
ratified  by  the  people  and  submitted  to  congress  for 
approval.  A  complete  set  of  Mexican  officials  was 
named  in  the  proclamation,  with  the  salaries  of  each 
and  the  duration  of  their  term  of  office. 

The  first  election  was  ordered  for  August  1st,  when 
also  delegates  to  the  convention  were  to  be  elected. 
The  officers  chosen  would  serve  until  January  1,  1850 
The  convention  would  meet  September  1st.  A  regu 
lar  annual  election  would  be  held  in  November,  to 
choose  members  of  the  territorial  assembly,  and  to  fill 
the  offices  temporarily  supplied  by  the  election  of 
August  1st.  The  territory  was  divided  into  ten  dis 
tricts  for  the  election  of  thirty-seven  delegates,  ap 
portioned  as  follows:  San  Diego  two,  Los  Angeles 
four,  Santa  Barbara  two,  San  Luis  Obispo  two,  Mon 
terey  five,  San  Jose  five,  San  Francisco  five,  Sonoma 
four,  Sacramento  four,  and  San  Joaquin  four.47 

Such  was  the  result  of  Riley's  civil  studies.48  The 
people  could  not  see,  however,  what  constitutional 
power  the  president  had  to  govern  a  territory  by  ap 
pointing  a  military  executive  in  time  of  peace,  or  any 
at  all  before  the  Mexican  laws  had  been  repealed; 
much  less  what  right  the  secretary  of  war  had  to  in- 

*7  Debates  ConstU.  CaL,  3-5;  Cr&nise,  Nat.  Wealth,  58-9;  Hittell,  S.  F.t 
140-1;  LarTdn,  Doc.,  MS.,  vii.  137;  Val,  Doc.,  MS.,  35,  124;  San  Luis  Ob. 
Arch.,  MS.,  sec.  i.;  Savage,  Doc.,  MS.,  ii.  85;  Any.  Arch.,  MS.,  iii.  249-66; 
Placer  Times,  June  23,  1849. 

i8  Gen.  Riley  publicly  acknowledged  the  '  efficient  aid '  rendered  him  by 
Capt.  H.  W.  Halleck,  his  sect,  of  state. 


struct  General  Hiley  to  act  as  civil  governor.  And 
perhaps  their  reasoning  was  as  good  as  the  general's, 
when  he  declared  they  had  no  right  to  legislate  for 
themselves  without  the  sanction  of  congress.  This 
question  had  been  argued  at  some  length  in  the  A Ita 
California  about  the  time  of  Riley's  arrival  by  Peter 
H.  Burnett,  who  had  come  down  from  Oregon  with 
the  gold-hunters  from  the  north  in  1848,  and  whose 
experience  with  the  provisional  government  of  the 
American  community  on  the  Columbia  made  him  a 
sort  of  umpire. 

On  the  day  following  the  above  proclamation  the 

Governor  issued  another,  addressed  to  the  people  of 
an  Francisco,  which  reached  them  on  the  9th,  in 
which  he  declared  that  "the  body  of  men  styling 
themselves  the  legislative  assembly  of  San  Francisco 
has  usurped  powers  which  are  vested  only  in  the  con 
gress  of  the  United  States."  Both  were  printed  in 
Spanish  as  well  as  English,  for  circulation  among  the 
inhabitants,  and  produced  no  small  excitement,  taken 
in  connection  with  the  arrival  of  the  mail  steamer  on 
the  4th  with  the  news  of  the  failure  of  congress  to 
provide  a  government,  aggravated  by  the  extension  of 
the  revenue  laws  over  California  and  the  appointment 
of  a  collector.49  Taxation  without  representation  was 
not  to  be  borne;  and  straightway  a  public  meeting 
had  been  held,  and  an  address  prepared  by  a  committee 
of  the  legislative  assembly,  of  which  Burnett  was  chair 
man,  protesting  against  the  injustice.  Among  other 
things,  it  declared  that  "the  legislative  assembly  of 
the  district  of  San  Francisco  have  believed  it  to  be 
their  duty  to  earnestly  recommend  to  their  fellow- 

49  James  Collier  was  appointed  collector  of  customs  and  special  depositary 
of  moneys  at  S.  F.,  in  March  1849  He  came  overland,  and  did  not  arrive 
until  late  in  the  autumn.  No  moneys  were  ever  deposited  with  him.  The 
act  mentioned  established  ports  of  delivery  at  San  Diego  and  Monterey,  and 
a  port  of  entry  at  S.  F.  Mies'  Reg,,  Ixxv.  193;  Cal.  Statute*,  1850,  app.  38; 
U.  8.  Acts  and  Res,,  70-5,  107-8,  30th  Cong.,  2J  Sess.;  Hunt's  Merck,  Mag,, 
xxiii.  663-5.  King  succeeded  Collier  in  May  1851,  at  S.  F.,  and  did  act  as  a 
depositary,  the  sums  collected  being  deposited  with  himself.  U.  S.  Sen.  Doc. , 
99,  vol.  x.,  32d  Cong.,  1st  Sess.  Major  Snyder  was  appointed  collector  in  1853, 
and  remained  in  office  until  1862.  Sivasey's  Remarks  on  Snyder,  MS.,  15-16. 


citizens  the  propriety  of  electing  twelve  delegates  from 
each  district  to  attend  a  general  convention  to  be  held 
at  the  pueblo  de  San  Jose  on  the  third  Monday  of 
August  next,  for  the  purpose  of  organizing  a  govern 
ment  for  the  whole  territory  of  California.  We  would 
recommend  that  the  delegates  be  intrusted  with  large 
discretion  to  deliberate  upon  the  best  measures  to  be 
taken;  and  to  form,  if  they  upon  mature  consideration 
should  deem  it  advisable,  a  state  constitution,  to  be 
submitted  to  the  people  for  their  ratification  or  rejec 
tion  by  a  direct  vote  at  the  polls.  .  .  .  From  the  best 
information  both  parties  in  congress  are  anxious  that 
this  should  be  done;  and  there  can  exist  no  doubt  of 
the  fact  that  the  present  perplexing  state  of  the  ques 
tion  at  Washington  would  insure  the  admission  of 
California  at  once.  We  have  the  question  to  settle 
for  ourselves;  and  the  sooner  we  do  it,  the  better." 
It  so  happened  that  this  address,  which  had  been  sub 
mitted  to  and  adopted  by  the  assembly  previous  to  the 
promulgation  of  Biley's  proclamation,  was  published 
in  the  Alta  June  14th,  five  days  after,  making  it  ap 
pear,  but  for  the  explanation  given  by  the  editor,  like 
a  carefully  designed  defiance  of  the  authority  of  the 

Three  days  after  the  proclamation  addressed  to  the 
people  of  San  Francisco  was  received,  a  mass  meeting 
in  favor  of  a  convention  for  forming  a  state  constitu 
tion  was  held  in  Portsmouth  square,  presided  over  by 
William  M.  Steuart.50  Resolutions  were  passed  de 
claring  the  right  of  the  people  of  the  territory,  the 
last  congress  having  failed  them,  to  organize  for  their 
own  protection,  and  to  elect  delegates  to  a  convention 
to  form  a  state  government,  "that  the  great  and  grow 
ing  interests  of  California  may  be  represented  in  the 

«•  The  vice-prests  were  William  D.  M.  Howard,  E.  H.  Harrison,  C.  V.  Gilles- 
pie,  Robert  A.  Parker,  Myron  Norton,  Francis  J  Lippett,  J.  H.  Merrill, 
George  Hyde,  William  Hooper,  Hiram  Grimes,  John  A.  Patterson,  C.  H. 
Johnson,  William  H.  Davis,  Alfred  Ellis,  Edward  Gilbert,  and  John  Towns- 
end.  The  secretaries  were  E.  Gould  Buffum,  J.  R.  Per  Lee,  and  W.  C. 


next  congress  of  the  United  States."  A  committee 
was  appointed  to  correspond  with  the  other  districts, 
and  fix  an  early  day  for  the  election  of  delegates  and 
for  the  convention,  as  also  to  determine  the  number 
of  delegates,  the  committee  consisting  of  P.  H.  Bur 
nett,  W.  D.  M.  Howard,  M.  Norton,  E.  G.  Buffum, 
and  E.  Gilbert.  A  motion  to  amend  a  resolution, 
by  adopting  the  days  appointed  by  the  governor,  was 
rejected.  The  meeting  was  addressed  by  Burnett, 
Thomas  Butler  King,  congressman  from  Georgia  and 
confidential  agent  of  the  government,  William  M. 
Gwin,  a  former  congressman  from  Mississippi,  and 
others.  King  had  been  sent  out  to  work  up  the  state 
movement,51  which  he  was  doing  in  conjunction  with 
the  governor;  and  Gwin  had  come  out  on  the  same 
steamer  to  become  a  senator  from  California.  He 
addressed  the  people  of  Sacramento,  July  4th,  and 
on  the  following  day  a  mass  meeting  at  Fowler's 
hotel,  and  resolutions  passed  to  cooperate  with  San 
Francisco  and  the  other  districts  in  forming  a  civil 
government.52  At  a  meeting  held  July  4th  at  Mor 
mon  Island,  W.  C.  Bigelow  in  the  chair,53  and  James 
Queen  secretary,  resolutions  were  adopted  declaring 
that  in  consequence  of  the  failure  of  congress  to  pro 
vide  a  government,  the  separation  of  this  country 
from  the  mother  country  has  been  loudly  talked  of; 
but  pledging  themselves  "to  discountenance  every 
effort  at  separation,  or  any  movement  that  may  tend 
to  counteract  the  action  of  the  general  government 
in  regard  to  California."  Also  that  believing  slavery 
to  be  injurious,  they  would  do  everything  in  their 

blBufum,  Six  Months,  118;  H  Ex.  Doc.,  31,  1,  no.  17,  p.  9-11. 

^Gwin,  Memoirs,  MS.,  5.  M.  M.  McCarver,  the  'old  brass  gun'  of  the 
Oregon  legislature,  presided  at  this  meeting.  George  McKinstry  was  sec. 
C.  E.  Pickett,  Chapman,  and  Carpenter  constituted  a  committee  to  draught  res 
olutions.  A  com.  of  J2  was  appointed  to  organize  the  district  into  precincts, 
and  apportion  the  representatives,  and  to  nominate  candidates.  Correspond 
ing  com.  appointed.  Committee  of  12  was  composed  of  P.  B.  Cornwall,  Car 
penter,  Blackburn,  J.  R.  Robb,  Mark  Stewart,  John  Fowler,  C.  E.  Pickett, 
Sam.  Brannan,  John  McDougal,  Samuel  Housley,  M.  T.  McClellan,  and  Col 

33  Placer  Times,  July  9,  1849, 


power  to  prevent  its  extension  to  this  country.     Taking 
alarm  at  some  of  these  proceedings,  Riley  gave  utter 
ance  to  his  views  in  the  Alta,  declaring  that  instruc 
tions  received  since  his  proclamations  fully  confirmed 
the  policy  there  set  forth,  and  that  it  was  distinctly 
said  that  "the  plan  of   establishing    an    independent 
government    in    California  cannot   be   sanctioned,   no 
matter  from  what  source  it  may  come."     The  phrase 
'independent    government'    drew  forth  a  reply  from 
Burnett  disclaiming  any  design    on  the  part  of  the 
agitators  of  a  civil  organization  to  erect  a  government 
not  dependent  on  the  United  States,  and    repelling 
as  a  libel  the  insinuation  contained  in  the  governor's 
communication  that  the  people  of  San  Francisco  had 
ever  contemplated  becoming  "the  sport  and  play  of 
the  great  powers  of  the  world,"   which  they  would  be 
should  they  attempt  a  separate  existence.     The  Alia 
also  denied  the  charge  in  a  subsequent  issue;  and  the 
committee    of   which    Burnett  was  chairman  having 
published  a   notice   making  the   day   of  election  and 
convention    conformable    to    the    governor's  appoint 
ments,  while  asserting  their  perfect  right  to  do  other 
wise,  there  was  a  lull  in  the  political  breeze  for  the 
intervening  period.54 

In  the  mean  time  San  Francisco  had  received  a  post 
master,  John  W.  Geary,55  who  in  spite  of  the  preju- 

Cal,  July  12  and  19,  1849;  Capron,  43-4;  U.  S.  H.  Misc.  Doc.,  44, 
i.,  p.  5-9,  31st  cong.,  1st  sess.  At  a  mass  meeting  in  Sac.,  that  district  was 
declared  entitled  to  10  delegates.  Placer  Times  (Sac.),  July  14,  1849. 

55  Unbound  Docs.,  MS.,  58.  John  W.  Geary  was  born  in  Westmoreland 
co.,  Pa,  in  1820.  He  had  been  col  of  a  reg.  from  his  state  in  the  Mexican 
war,  and  fought  at  the  battles  of  La  Hoya,  Chapultepec,  Garita  de  Belen,  and 
city  of  Mexico.  His  duties  as  alcalde  were  those  of  mayor,  sheriff,  probate 
and  police  judge,  recorder,  coroner,  and  notary  public.  After  the  appoint 
ment  of  W.  B.  Almond,  a  man  of  fair  legal  attainments  from  Missouri,  who 
was  at  his  request  made  judge  of  first  instance,  with  civil  jurisdiction,  his 
duties  were  less  complex.  Geary  was  reelected  in  1850,  with  only  12  votes 
against  him  in  4,000.  He  was  a  'splendid-looking  man,  cordial  and  affable.' 
He  returned  to  Pa  in  1852,  and  was  appointed  governor  of  Kansas.  He  served 
in  the  civil  war  as  col  of  the  28th  regt  Pa  vols.  His  death  occurred  at  Har- 
risburg,  Feb.  8,  1873.  An.  ofS.  F.,  718-34;  Sac.  Record,  Feb.  10,  1873;  Oak 
land  Gazette,  Feb.  15,  1873;  Nevada  Transcript,  Feb.  11,  1873;  Oakland 
Transcript,  Feb.  9,  1873;  Folsom  Telegraph,  Apr.  4,  1868;  Alpine  Silver  Moun 
tain  Chronicle,  Feb.  15,  1873;  Albany  Register,  Feb.  14,  1873;  Hittell,  S.  F., 
139;  AUa  California,  Jan.  9,  1866,  and  Feb.  9,  1873;  Upham,  Rem.  of  Pioneer 


dice  at  once  manifested  against  imported  officials, 
achieved  a  popularity  which  obtained  for  him  the 
office  of  first  alcalde,  or  judge  of  the  first  instance, 
at  the  election,  and  which  kept  him  in  office  after  a 
change  of  government  had  been  effected.58 

In  July,  T.  Butler  King,  in  his  character  of  confi 
dential  agent  of  the  government,  paid  a  visit  to  the 
mining  districts.  He  travelled  in  state,  accompanied 
by  General  Smith  and  staff,  Commodore  Jones  and 
staff,  Dr  Tyson,  geologist,  and  a  cavalry  detachment 
under  Lieutenant  Stoneman,  who  afterward  became  a 
general.67  He  made  an  extended  tour,  and  a  report  in 

Journalism,  in  Advertisers  Guide,  105,  Dec.  1876;  S.  F.  vs  U.  S.,  1854,  docs. 
22,  23;  S.  F.  Call,  Nov.  9,  1884;  Pierces  Rough  Sketch,  MS.,  188-9;  Auburn 
Placer  Argus,  Feb.  15,  1873;  S.  F.  Elevator,  Feb.  15,  1873. 

66 1  find  the  following  officers  under  military  govt  in  1 848-9,  mentioned 
in  Viilwuwl  Docs.,  MS.,  319-40-  James  W.  Weeks,  K.  H.  Dimmick,  alcaldes, 
San  Jose;  Estevan  Addison,  alcalde,  Sta  Barbara;  Isaac  Callahan,  alcalde, 
Los  Angeles,  1848.  In  1849,  William  Myers,  alcalde;  and  Albert  G.  Toomes 
and  David  Plemmons,  judges  in  the  upper  north  California  district;  John  T. 
Richardson,  alcalde,  San  Jose;  Stephen  Cooper,  Benicia;  Dennis  Gahagan, 
alcalde,  San  Diego;  J.  L.  Majors,  subprefect  at  Santa  Cruz;  Miguel  Avila,  al 
calde,  San  Luis  Obispo;  R.  M.  May,  alcalde,  San  Jose;  A.  M.  White,  alcalde, 
Mercedes  River;  G.  D.  Dickerson,  prefect  of  the  district  of  San  Joaquin; 
Charles  P.  Wilkins,  prefect  of  Sonoma;  W.  B.  Almond,  alcalde,  S.  F.  (asso 
ciate  of  Geary),  Horace  Hawes,  prefect  of  S.  F.  district;  Paciricus  Ord,  judge 
of  supreme  tribunal;  Lewis  Dent,  ditto;  John  E.  Townes,  high-sheriff  of  S.  F. 
district;  Edward  H.  Harrison,  collector  at  S.  F. ;  Rodman  M.  Price,  purser 
and  navy  agent,  and  chairman  of  town  council  committee;  Philip  A.  Roach, 
in  his  Facts  on  Cal.,  MS.,  7-8,  mentions  being  elected  to  the  offices  of  1st 
alcalde  and  recorder  of  Monterey,  in  Oct.  1849.  From  other  docs. — Ignacio 
Ezquer,  1st  alcalde,  Monterey;  Jacinto  Rodriguez,  2d  alcalde,  Monterey;  Jose 
Maria  Covarrubias  and  Augustin  Janssen,  jueces  de  paz;  Antoiiio  Maria  Pico, 
prefect  of  northern  Cal.  district;  N.  B.  Smith  and  Wellner,  subprefects. 

57  Crosby  gives  quite  a  particular  account  of  this  official  '  progress  '  through 
the  country.  King,  he  says,  nearly  lost  his  life  by  it,  through  his  inability 
to  adapt  himself  to  the  customs  of  border  life.  '  He  would  rise  in  the  morn 
ing  after  the  sun  was  well  up,  and  after  making  an  elaborate  toilet,  having 
his  boots  blacked,  and  dressing  as  if  going  to  the  senate-chamber,  would  then 
take  breakfast,  and  by  the  time  he  was  ready  to  start,  it  would  be  8  or  9 
o'clock,  the  sun  would  be  hot,  and  the  marches  made  in  the  worst  part  of  the 

day Gen.  Smith  said  to  him:  "Not  only  you,  but  all  the  rest  of  the  party, 

are  rendering  yourselves  liable  to  fever  and  sickness ....  We  ought  to  go  in 
the  early  morning,  and  lie  by  in  the  middle  of  the  day. "  But  King  would 
not  agree  to  this.  I  felt  premonitions  of  a  fever  coming  on,  and  took  my 
leave  of  the  party,  and  made  my  way  to  Sutter's  Fort,  ami  was  laid  up  three 
or  four  weeks  with  a  fever.  The  party  went  down  to  the  South  Fork,  and 
then  over  to  the  Mokelumne,  to  the  southern  mines.  King  brought  up  at 
S.  F.,  and  came  near  losing  his  life  with  a  fever.'  Events  in  Cal.,  M.S.,  29-30; 
Letter  of  Lieut  Cadwalder  Rim/gold,  in  H.  Ex.  Doc.,  31,  1,  no.  17,  pp.  954-5; 
Placer  Times,  July  14  and  Aug.'  1,  1849. 


which  he  gave  a  very  flattering  account  of  the  mines, 
and  reiterated  what  the  reader  already  knows  concern 
ing  the  people — their  anxiety  for  a  government  which 
they  could  recognize,  and  its  causes;  namely,  igno 
rance  of  Mexican  laws,  and  their  oppressive  nature 
when  understood;  the  absence  of  any  legal  system  of 
taxation  to  provide  the  means  of  supporting  a  govern 
ment;  the  imposition  of  import  duties  by  the  United 
States,  without  representation;  and  the  uncertainty 
of  titles,  with  other  things  of  less  importance. 

After  reporting  the  action  of  the  people  in  their 
efforts  to  correct  some  of  these  evils,  and  that  they 
had  resolved  upon  the  immediate  formation  of  a  state 
government,  he  further  remarked  that  "  they  consid 
ered  they  had  a  right  to  decide,  so  far  as  they  were 
concerned,  the  question  of  slavery,  and  believed  that 
in  their  decision  they  would  be  sanctioned  by  all  par 
ties."  King  declared  that  he  had  no  secret  instruc 
tions,  verbal  or  written,  on  the  subject  of  slavery; 
"  nor  was  it  ever  hinted  or  intimated  to  me  that  I 
was  expected  to  attempt  to  influence  their  action  in 
the  slightest  degree  on  that  subject."  "  In  the  elec 
tion  of  delegates,"  he  said,  "no  questions  were  asked 
about  a  candidate's  politics;  the  object  was  to  find 
competent  men."  But  of  the  thirty-seven  delegates, 
sixteen  were  from  the  slave-holding  states,  ten  from 
the  free  states,  and  eleven  were  native  citizens  of 
California,  all  but  one  of  whom  came  from  districts 
south  of  the  Missouri  compromise  line  of  36°  30'. 
The  convention  therefore  would  have  a  presumptive 
majority  of  twenty-seven  leaning  toward  the  south.58 
This  was  not  the  actual  proportion  after  the  election, 
forty-eight  members  being  chosen,  the  additional  dele 
gates  being  from  the  mining  districts  and  San  Fran 
cisco,  where  the  population  was  greatest.  Twenty-two 
were  then  from  the  northern  states,  fifteen  from  the 
slave  states,  seven  native  Californians,  and  four  for 
eign  born. 

58 King's  rept,  in  H.  Ex,  Doc.,  31,  1,  no.  59,  pp.  1-6;  Green's  Life,  and 
Adv.,  21. 


King  was  one  of  those  anomalous  individuals — a 
northern  man  with  a  southerner's  views.  Born  and 
reared  in  Pennsylvania,  he  went  early  in  life  to 
Georgia,  and  marrying  a  woman  of  that  state,  be 
came  infected  with  the  state-rights  doctrine,  and  in 
1838  was  elected  to  congress  as  its  representative. 
As  a  whig  he  supported  Harrison  and  Tyler  in  1840, 
and  Taylor  and  Fillmore  in  1848,  and  advocated  lead 
ing  whig  measures.  But  the  virus  of  slavery  with 
which  he  was  inoculated  developed  itself  later  in 
secession,  which  made  an  end  of  all  his  greatness. 
While  laboring  to  bring  California  into  the  union,  he 
had  in  view  the  division  of  the  territory  by  congress, 
and  that  all  south  of  36°  30'  should  be  devoted  to 
slavery.  This  was  to  be  the  price  of  the  admission 
of  California,  or  any  part  of  it.  Under  this  belief  he 
was  willing  to  be  and  was  useful  to  the  people  of 
California  in  their  efforts  to  obtain  a  civil  govern 
ment.  The  administration  paid  him  well  for  his  ser 
vices,  and  rewarded  him  with  the  office  of  collector  of 
customs.  If  the  people  would  willingly  have  had  no 
more  of  him  they  had  their  reasons.59 

59  King  made  an  ass  of  himself,  generally.  Crane  relates  with  much  gusto 
the  following  as  illustrative  of  King's  character.  When  the  custom-house 
was  burned  in  the  great  fire  of  1861,  King  had  occasion  to  remove  the  treas 
ure  from  a  vault  in  the  ruins  to  the  corner  of  Washington  and  Kearny  streets, 
and  assembled  his  force  of  employes  to  act  as  guard.  They  came  together, 
armed  with  cutlasses,  pistols,  etc.,  and  a  cart  being  loaded,  formed  a  line, 
himself  at  the  head,  leading  off  with  a  sword  in  one  hand  and  a  pistol  in  the 
other.  In  this  manner  several  cart-loads  were  escorted  to  the  place  of  deposit. 
When  the  last  train  was  en  route,  some  wags  induced  the  waiters  of  a  public 
eating-house  to  charge  upon  it  with  knives,  when  some  of  the  guard  ran 
away,  King,  however,  holding  his  ground.  Past,  Present,  and  Future,  MS., 
12.  Some  one  had  a  caricature  of  the  proceedings  lithographed,  and  entitled 
*  Ye  King  and  ye  Commones,  or  ye  Manners  and  Customes  of  California — a 
new  farce  lately  enacted  in  May  28,  1851.'  8.  F.  Alia,  May  29,  30,  1851. 
Gwin  attacked  Taylor's  administration  for  the  expense  of  King's  mission,  say 
ing  he  had  at  his  disposal  the  army,  navy,  and  treasury.  There  was  much 
truth  in  the  declaration.  His  pay  was  $8  per  diem;  he  was  drawing  pay  as  a 
member  of  congress,  although  he  subsequently  resigned,  and  the  officers  of 
the  army  and  navy  were  enjoined  to  '  in  all  matters  aid  and  assist  him  in 
carrying  out  the  views  of  the  government, '  and  '  be  guided  by  his  advice  and 
council  in  the  conduct  of  all  proper  measures  within  the  scope  of  those  [his] 
instructions. '  But  the  government  had  a  right  to  employ  all  its  means  for  an 
object.  H.  Ex.  Doc.,  31,  1,  no.  17,  p.  146;  Cong.  Globe,  1851-2;  App  ,  534-6. 
King  went  with  the  southern  states  when  they  seceded,  and  was  sent  as  a 
commissioner  to  Europe.  He  died  at  his  home  in  Georgia  May  10,  1864. 
S.  F.  Call,  June  20,  1864. 


Affairs  moved  on  with  occasional  disturbances  to 
the  public  peace,  which  were  suppressed  in  San  Fran 
cisco  by  a  popular  court,  and  in  the  outlying  districts 
by  military  authority.60  The  election  of  August  1st 
for  delegates  to  the  constitutional  convention,  and 
municipal  officers,61  passed  without  disturbance,  and 
preparations  began  to  be  made  for  the  convention 
itself,  which  was  to  be  held  at  Monterey.  But  now 
it  was  found  that  such  was  the  pressing  nature  of 
private  business,  such  the  expense  and  inconvenience 
of  a  journey  to  the  capital  from  the  northern  and 
southern  districts,  that  some  doubt  began  to  be  enter 
tained  of  the  presence  of  the  delegates.  King,  who 
had  the  principal  management  of  affairs,  overcame  this 
difficulty  by  directing  Commodore  Jones  to  send  the 
United  States  steamer  Edith  to  San  Diego,  Los  An 
geles,  and  Santa  Barbara,  to  bring  the  southern  dele 
gates  to  Monterey;62  while  the  northern  delegates 
chartered  the  brig  Fremont  to  carry  them  from  San 
Francisco.  The  Edith  was  wrecked  on  the  passage, 
and  the  Fremont  narrowly  escaped  the  same  fate.  All 
arrived  safely  at  their  destination,  however,  and  were 
ready  to  organize  on  the  3d  of  September 

Never  in  the  history  of  the  world  did  a  similar  con 
vention  come  together.  They  were  there  to  form  a 
state  out  of  unorganized  territory;  out  of  territory 
only  lately  wrested  from  a  subjugated  people,  who 
were  elected  to  assist  in  framing  a  constitution  in  con 
formity  with  the  political  views  of  the  conquerors. 
These  native  delegates  were  averse  to  the  change 
about  to  be  made.  They  feared  that  because  they  were 
large  land-owners  they  would  have  the  burden  of 

^Riley,  Order  No.  22,  to  commander  of  posts,  to  investigate  outrages. 
Savage,  Coll.,  MS.,  iii.  36;  U.  S.  Sen.  Doc.,  52,  xiii.  p.  12-41;  31st  Cong.,  1st 
Sess.;  H.  Ex.  Doc.,  5,  p.  i.  pp.  156,  161,  165-78,  31st  Cong.,  1st  Sess. 

61  Peter  H.  Burnett  was  elected  chief  justice,  Jose  M.  Covarrubias,  Pacifi- 
cus  Ord,  and  Louis  Dent  were  chosen  associate  judges.     Alcaldes  were  elected 
in  the  several  districts. 

62  The  Edith  was  commanded  by  Lieut  McCormick,  who  knew  little  of  the 
coast,  and  being  bewildered  in  a  fog,  lost  the  steamer.     Letter  of  Commodore 
Jones,  inH.  Ex.  Doc.,  31,  1,  no.  17,  pp.  951-2;  Cong.  Globe,  1851-2,  535,  578; 
Napa  Register,  April  20,  1872. 


supporting  the  new  government  laid  upon  their  shoul 
ders,  and  naturally  feared  other  innovations  painful 
to  their  feelings  because  opposed  to  their  habits  of 
thought.  These  very  apprehensions  forced  them  to  be 
come  the  representatives  of  their  class,  in  order  to  avert 
as  much  as  possible  the  evils  they  foreboded.  Such 
men  as  Vallejo,  Carrillo,  and  De  la  Guerra  could  not 
be  ignored,  though  they  spoke  only  through  an  inter 
preter.  Carrillo  was  from  one  of  the  southern  districts, 
a  pure  Castilian,  of  decided  character,  and  prejudiced 
against  the  invaders.  De  la  Guerra  was  perhaps  the 
most  accomplished  and  best  educated  of  the  Spanish 
delegation,  and  had  no  love  for  the  Americans,  although 
he  accepted  his  place  among  them,  and  sat  afterward 
in  the  state  senate.  Vallejo  had  not  forgotten  the 
Bear  Flag  filibusters  who  had  subjected  him  to  the 
ignominy  of  arrest ;  and  each  had  his  reason  for  being 
somewhat  a  drawback  on  the  proceedings.63 

Of  foreign-born  delegates  there  were  few.  Captain 
Sutter  was  noticeable,  owing  to  his  long  residence  in 
the  country,  and  his  reputation  for  hospitality;  but 
otherwise  he  carried  little  weight.  Louis  Dent,  dele 
gate  from  Santa  Barbara,  an  Englishman,  voted  with 
De  la  Guerra.  Among  the  Americans  were  a  num 
ber  who  were,  or  afterward  became,  more  or  less 
famous ;  H.  W.  Halleck,  then  secretary  of  state  under 
Governor  Riley ;  Thomas  O.  Larkin,64  first  and  last 

63  Crosby,  to  whom  I  am  indebted  for  many  hints  regarding  character, 
says  that  when  the  state  seal  was  under  discussion,  the  Spanish  members 
exhibited  considerable  feeling  upon  the  bear  being  used  as  the  emblem  of 
California.     Vallejo  objected  to  it;  he  thought  it  should  at  least  be  under  the 
control  of  a  vaquero,  with  a  lasso  round  its  neck!  Events  in  CaL,  MS.,  34. 
Caleb  Lyon  of  Lyonsdale  enjoyed  the  reputation  of  designing  the  state  seal, 
although  it  was  not  justly  his  due.     Major  R.  S.  Garnet  designed  it,  but 
being  of  a  retiring  disposition,  gave  his  drawing  to  Lyon,  who  added  some 
stars  around  the  rim,  and  obtained  the  prize  of  $1,000,  but  forgot  to  purchase 
with  it  a  printing-press,  which  was  one  of  the  conditions.  Ross  Browne,  in 
Overland  Monthly,  xv.  346;  First  Ann  I  Territ.  Pioneers,  56-7;  S.  F.   CaL 
Courier,  July  1850;  Sac.  Union,  March  17,  1858.     The  great  seal  represents 
the  bay  of  San  Francisco,  with  the  goddess  Minerva  in  the  foreground,  the 
Sierra  in  the  background,  mining  in  the  middle  distance,  the  grizzly  bear  at 
the  feet  of  Minerva,  and  the  word  Eureka  at  the  top,  under  a  belt  of  stars. 
Around  the  whole,  'The  Great  Seal  of  the  State  of  California,'  S.  F.  Ann, 
App.,  805. 

64  Thomas  Oliver  Larkin  was  born  in  Mass,  in  1803,  and  migrated  to  Cali- 


United  States  consul  to  California;  Edward  Gilbert, 
who  established  the  Alia  California,  was  sent  to  con 
gress,  and  killed  in  a  duel,  McDougal  became  gov 
ernor,  and  Gwin  United  States  senator;  J  Ross 
Browne,  reporter  of  the  convention,  and  a  popular 
writer,  was  afterward  employed  as  a  secret  and  open 
agent  of  the  government,  to  look  into  politics  and  into 
mines,65  Jacob  R  Snyder,  a  Philadelphian,  whom 
Commodore  Stockton  found  in  the  country,  and  to 
whom  he  intrusted  the  organization  of  an  artillery 
corps,  and  made  quartermaster  to  Fremont's  battalion. 
Under  Mason's  administration  he  was  surveyor  for 
the  middle  department  of  California,  and  one  of  the 
founders  of  Sacramento.  Stephen  G.  Foster,  Elisha 
O.  Crosby,  K.  H.  Dimmick,  Lansford  W.  Hastings, 
were  all  enterprising  northern  men ;  besides  others  less 
well  known.  Rodman  M.  Price  was  subsequently 
member  of  congress  from,  and  governor  of,  the  state 
of  New  Jersey;  and  Pacificus  Ord  district  attorney 
for  the  United  States  in  California. 

The  convention  was  not  lacking  in  talent.  It  was 
not  chosen  with  regard  to  party  proclivities,  but  was 
understood  to  be  mider  the  management,  imaginary  if 
not  real,  of  southern  men.  It  was  a  curious  mixture. 
On  one  hand  a  refined,  and  in  his  own  esteem  at  least 
an  already  distinguished,  representative  of  the  after 
ward  arrogant  chivalry  who  sought  to  rule  California, 

fornia  in  1832.  He  was  deeply  concerned  in  all  the  measures  which  severed 
Cal.  from  Mexico,  loaning  his  funds  and  credit  to  meet  the  exigencies  of  the 
war.  He  was  made  consul  and  navy  agent  by  the  U.  S.  govt.  He  gave  each 
of  the  officers  of  the  Southampton  a  lot  in  Benicia.  Larkin,  Doc,,  vii.  72;  Colton, 
Three  Years,  28-30.  He  was  at  one  time  supposed  to  be  the  richest  man  in 
America.  S.  I.  Friend,  vii.  85. 

65  John  Ross  Browne  was  an  Irishman,  born  in  1822  at  Dublin,  where  his 
father  edited  the  Cornet,  a  political  paper,  and  who  immigrated  to  the  U.  S. 
in  1833.  The  lad,  whose  new  home  was  in  Louisville,  Ky.,  exhibited  a  pas 
sion  for  travel,  which  he  gratified.  He  had  talent,  and  became  reporter  to  a 
Cincinnati  paper,  studied  medicine,  reported  for  the  U.  S.  senate,  and  held 
several  situations  under  govt,  at  last  being  given  a  place  as  lieut  in  the 
revenue  service,  and  sent  to  Cal.,  where  he  found  the  service  had  been  reduced 
and  himself  discharged.  He  then  became  reporter  for  the  convention.  Sub 
sequently  he  was  secret  treasury  agent,  and  emyloyed  to  report  upon  mines. 
His  last  appointment  was  as  minister  to  China.  His  death  occurred  in  Dec. 


was  William  M  Gwin.  On  the  other  the  loose-jointed, 
honest,  but  blatant  and  unkempt  McCarver,  whom 
we  have  known  in  Oregon.  Another  kind  of  south 
erner  was  Benjamin  F.  Moore,  who  had  migrated 
from  Florida  through  Texas,  carried  a  huge  bowie- 
knife,  and  was  usually  half  drunk.68  Joel  P.  Walker 
we  have  seen  coming  overland  in  1840  and  1841  with 
his  family  and  household  gods,  first  to  Oregon  and 
then  to  California,  a  pioneer  of  pioneers;  Charles  T. 
Betts  of  Virginia,  who  was  a  man  of  ability,  and  an 
earnest  southerner;  James  M.  Jones,  a  young  man,  a 
fine  linguist,  and  good  lawyer,  who  was  United  States 
district  judge  for  the  southern  district  of  California 
after  the  admission  of  California,  and  who  died  in  1851 
of  consumption,  at  San  "Jose,67  an  extreme  southerner 
in  his  views,  fully  believing  in  and  insisting  on  the 
divine  right  of  slave-holders  to  the  labor  of  the  African 
race;  the  genial  and  scholarly  0.  M.  Wozencraft, 
William  E.  Shannon,  an  Irishman  by  birth,  and  a 
lawyer, who  introduced  that  section  in  the  bill  of  rights 
which  made  California  a  free  state — borrowed,  it  is 
true,  but  as  illustrious  and  imperishable  as  it  is  Ameri 

On  the  1st  of  the  month  the  members  present  met 
in  Colton  hall  to  adjourn  to  the  3d.  Some  debate 
was  had  on  the  apportionment  as  it  had  been  made, 
the  election  as  it  stood,  and  the  justice  of  increasing 
the  delegation  from  several  districts,  which  was  finally 
admitted,  when  forty-eight  instead  of  thirty-seven 
members  were  received.09  Of  these,  fourteen  were 

66  Foster,  A  ngeles  in  1847,  MS. ,  17 ;  Crosby,  Events  in  Cal. ,  MS. ,  47.  In  1 852 
Moore  received  the  whig  nomination  for  congress  but  was  defeated.  As  a 
criminal  lawyer  he  was  somewhat  noted.  He  several  times  represented 
Tuolumne  co.  in  the  legislature.  He  died  Jan.  2,  1866,  at  Stockton.  Pajaro 
Times,  Jan.  13,  1866;  Havilah  Courier,  Jan.  12,  1867. 

67 Burnett,  Recoil,  MS.,  ii.  255-67;  Gwin,  Mem.,  MS.,  14. 

^McClellan,  Repub.  in  Amer.,  115-16.  Shannon  came  to  the  U.  S.  in 
1830  at  the  age  of  7  years,  his  father  settling  in  Steuben  co.,  N.  Y.  He  studied 
law,  but  joined  the  N.  Y.  reg.  for  Cal.  in  1846.  He  was  elected  to  the  state 
senate  in  1850,  and  died  of  cholera  Nov.  13th  of  that  year.  Sac.  Transcript, 
Nov.  14,  1850;  Shuck's  Repres.  Men,  853-4;  San  Jose  Pioneer,  March,  30,  1878. 

69  The  rule  under  which  the  additional  delegates  were  admitted  was  that 


lawyers,  twelve  farmers,  seven  merchants.     The  re 
mainder  were  engineers,  bankers,  physicians,  and  print- 

every  one  having  received  over  100  votes  in  his  district  should  be  a  member. 

The  list  of  regular  delegates  stood  as  follows: 

Names.  Nativity.  Residence.  Age. 

John  A.  Sutter Switzerland 47 

H.  W.  Halleck      New  York  . . .  .Monterey .  .32 

William  M.  Gwin Tennessee San  Francisco ....  44 

William  M.  Steuart Maryland San  Francisc* 49 

Joseph  Hoborn Maryland    San  Francisco ...  .39 

Thomas  L.  Vermeule New  Jersey 35 

O.  M.  Wozencraft „ . .  .Ohio San  Joaquin 34 

B.  F.  Moore Florida San  Joaquin  29 

William  E.  Shannon  ...*..  .New  York Sacramento 27 

Winfield  S.  Sherwood New  York Sacramento 32 

Elam  Brown New  York San  Jose 52 

Joseph  Aram „ . .  .New  York San1  Jose 39 

J.  D.  Hoppe Maryland San  Jose 35 

John  McDougal Ohio . .  .Sutter 32 

Elisha  0.  Crosby New  York Vernon ' 34 

H.  K.  Dimmick .New  York San  Jose 34 

Julian  Hanks Connecticut.. . .  San  Jose 39 

M.  M.  McCarver Kentucky.    .  .  .Sacramento 42 

Francis  J.  Lippitt Rhode  Island     San  Francisco 37 

Rodman  M.  Price Massachusetts .  Monterey 47 

Thomas  O.  Larkin New  York San  Francisco 36 

Louis  Dent o .  .Missouri Monterey 26 

Henry  Hill Virginia Monterey 33 

Charles  T.  Betts. Virginia.     Monterey. 40 

Myron  Norton .Vermont San  Francisco. . .  .27 

James  M.  Jones Kentucky San  Joaquin 25 

Pedro  Sainsevain Bordeaux San  Jose 26 

Jose  M.  Covarrubias France Santa  Barbara. .  ..41 

Antonio  M.  Pico . .    California San  Jos6 40 

Jacinto  Rodriguez California Monterey 36 

Stephen  G.  Foster Maine Los  Angeles 28 

Henry  A.  Tefft New  York San  Luis  Obispo  .  26 

J.  M.  H.  Hollingsworth.1.  .Maryland San  Joaquin 25 

Abel  Stearns c . . « .Massachusetts  .Los  Angeles 51 

Hugh  Pveid Scotland San  Gabriel 38 

Benjamin  S.  Lippincott. . .  .New  York San  Joaquin 34 

Joel  P.  Walker Virginia Sonoma 52 

Jacob  R.  Snyder Pennslyvania . .  Sacramento 34 

Lansford  W.  Hastings Ohio Sacramento 30 

Pablo  de  la  Guerra California Santa  Barbara 30 

M.  G.  Vallejo .California.  e .  .  .Sonoma 42 

Jose  Antonio  Carrillo.  .  - . .  California Los  Angeles 53 

Manuel  Dominguez California. . .  , .  Los  Angeles 46 

Robert  Semple Kentucky Benicia 42 

Pacificus  Ord  Maryland Monterey. ... 33 

Edward  Gilbert. .... .' .New  York San  Francisco 27 

A.  J.  Ellis New  York San  Francisco 33 

Miguel  de  Pedrorena Spain San  Diego .  .41 

S.  F.  Bulletin,  May  25,  1878;  Mendoano  Co.  Hist.,  292-7;  Browne,  Constvb. 

Debates,  An.  S.  F.,  136-7;  San  Joaquin  Co.  Hist.,  22-3;  Alameda  Co.  Hist. 

Atlas,  13;    Yuba  Co.  Hist.,  37-8;  James  Queen  and  W.  Lacy  were  elected 

'additional  delegates'  to  represent  Sac.   Sutter  Co.  Hist.,  26;  Ezquer,  Mem., 

31-2;  S.  F.  Post,  June  26,  1886. 


ers.70  These  professions  did  not  prevent  their  being 
miners  any  more  than  it  disqualified  them  from  legis 
lation,  and  nothing  but  crime  bars  the  American  from 
that  privilege.  All  were  in  the  prime  of  life,  all  very 
much  in  earnest,  and  patriotic  according  to  their  light, 
albeit  their  light  was  colored  more  or  less  by  local 
prejudices.  To  be  a  patriot,  a  man  must  be  prejudiced  ; 
but  the  respect  we  accord  to  his  patriotism  depends 
upon  the  breadth  or  quality  of  his  bias. 

As  I  have  remarked,  the  northern  spirit  was  pre 
pared  to  array  itself,  if  necessary,  against  any  assump 
tion  on  the  part  of  the  chivalry  in  the  convention, 
whose  pretensions  to  the  divine  right  to  rule  displayed 
itself,  not  only  upon  slave  soil,  but  was  carried  into 
the  national  senate  chamber,  and  had  already  flaunted 
itself  rather  indiscreetly  in  California.  While  the 
choice  of  a  president  was  under  discussion,  Snyder 
took  occasion  to  state  in  a  facetious  and  yet  pointed 
manner  that  Mr  Gwin  had  come  down  prepared  to  be 
president,  and  had  also  a  constitution  in  his  pocket 
which  the  delegates  would  be  expected  to  adopt,  sec 
tion  by  section.71  Both  Snyder's  remarks  and  G win's 
denial  were  received  with  laughter,  but  the  hint  was 
not  lost.  Snyder  proposed  Doctor  Semple  for  presi 
dent  of  the  convention,  and  the  pioneer  printer  of 
Monterey,  a  giant  in  height  if  not  in  intellect,  was 
duly  elected.72  He  was  a  large-hearted  and  measur 
ably  astute  man,  with  tact  enough  to  preside  well, 
and  as  much  wisdom  in  debate  as  his  fellows.'3 

The  chosen  reporter  of  the  convention,  J.  Ross 
Browne,  had  a  commission  to  establish  post-offices, 
and  established  one  at  San  Jose  before  the  conven 
tion,  and  none  anywhere  afterward.  William  G* 

7«  Overland  Monthly,  ix.  14-16;  Simonin,  Grand  Quest.,  320-3. 

71  Crosby,  Events  in  Cal.,  MS.,  38-40.     This  was  true;  but  it  was  the  consti 
tution  of  Iowa. 

72  Gwin  explains  that  it  was  the  distrust  of  the  native-born  members  that 
defeated  him.     They  attributed  to  him  '  the  most  dangerous  Designs  upon 
their  property,  in  the  formation  of  a  state  government.'  Memoirs,  MS.,  11. 

73  Royce,  California,  62;   Colton,   Three  Years,  32j  Sherman,  $f em.,  i.  78j 
Capi-on,  47-8. 

HIST  CAL.,  VOL.  VI.    19 


Marcy  was  selected  secretary ;  Caleb  Lyon,  of  Lyons- 
dale,  first  assistant,  and  J.  G.  Field,  second  assistant 
secretaries.  William  Hartnell  was  employed  to  inter 
pret  for  the  Spanish  members.  Chaplains  were  at 
hand,  Padre  Ramirez  and  S.  H.  Willey  alternating 
with  the  refugee  superior  of  the  Lower  California  mis 
sions,  Ignacio  Arrellanes.74 

Thus  equipped  the  delegates  proceeded  harmoniously 
with  their  work.  They  did  not  pretend  to  originate 
a  constitution ;  they  carefully  compared  those  of  the 
several  states  with  whose  workings  they  were  familiar, 
and  borrowed  from  each  what  was  best  and  most  ap 
plicable,  or  could  be  most  easily  made  to  conform  to 
the  requirements  of  California,  all  of  which,  by  amend 
ments  frequently  suggested,  became  modelled  into  a 
new  and  nearly  faultless  instrument. 

To  the  surprise  of  northern  men,  no  objection  was 
made  by  the  southerners  to  that  section  in  the  bill  of 
rights  which  declared  that  neither  slavery  nor  invol 
untary  servitude,75  except  in  punishment  of  crime, 
should  ever  be  tolerated  in  the  state.  It  was  not  in 
the  bill  as  reported  by  the  committee76  having  it  in 

74  Browne,  L.  Cal.,  51;    Willey  s  Thirty  Years,  32. 

75  The  temper  of  the  majority  was  understood.     As  early  as  1848  the  qiies- 
tion  was  discussed  in  Cal.  in  relation  to  its  future.     The  editor  of  the  Call- 
fornian,  in  May  of  that  year,  declares  that  he  echoes  the  sentiment  of  the 
people  of  California  in  saying  that '  slavery  is  neither  needed  nor  desired  here, 

signing  himself  G.  C.  H.,  in  the  same  journal  of  Nov.  4,  1848,  writes:  'If 
white  labor  is  too  high  for  agriculture,  laborers  on  contract  may  be  brought 
from  China,  or  elsewhere,  who  if  well  treated  will  work  faithfully  for  low 
wages.'  Buckelew,  in  the  issue  of  March  15,  1848,  said:  'We  have  not  heard 
one  of  our  acquaintance  in  this  country  advocate  the  measure,  and  we  are 
almost  certain  that  97-100  of  the  present  population  are  opposed  to  it.'  'We 
left  the  slave  states,'  remarked  the  editor  again,  *  because  we  did  not  like  to 
bring  up  a  family  in  a  miserable,  can't-help-one's-self  condition,'  and  dearly 
as  he  loved  the  union  he  should  prefer  Cal.  independent  to  seeing  her  a  slave 
state.  The  N.  Y.  Express  of  Sept.  10,  1848,  thought  the  immigration  would 
settle  the  question.  It  did  not  change  the  sentiment,  except  to  add  rather 
more  friends  of  slavery  to  the  population,  but  still  with  a  majority  against  it. 
On  the  8th  of  Jan.,  1849,  a  mass  meeting  in  Sac.  passed  resolutions  opposing 
slavery.  This  was  the  first  public  expression  of  the  kind. 

76  G  win  was  chairman  of  the  committee  on  constitution.  Norton,  Hill, 
Foster,  De  la  Guerra,  Rodriguez,  Tefft,  Covarrubias,  Dent,  Halleck,  Dim- 
mick,  Hoppe,  Vallejo,  Walker,  Snyder,  Sherwood,  Lippiucott,  and  Moore 
constituted  the  committee.  Browne,  Comtit.  Debates,  29. 


charge,  but  when  offered  by  Shannon  was  unanimously 
adopted.  Gwin  had  set  out  on  the  road  to  the  United 
States  senate,77  and  could  not  afford  to  raise  any 
troublesome  questions ;  and  most  of  the  southern  men 
among  the  delegates  having  office  in  view  were  sim 
ilarly  situated.  Some  of  them  hoped  to  regain  all 
that  they  lost  when  they  came  to  the  subject  of 
boundary.  Let  northern  California  be  a  free  state; 
out  of  the  remainder  of  the  territory  acquired  from 
Mexico  half  a  dozen  slave  states  might  be  made. 

But  the  African,  a  veritable  Banquo's  ghost,  would 
not  down,  even  when  as  fairly  treated  as  I  have 
shown ;  and  McCarver  insisted  on  the  adoption  of  a 
section  preventing  free  negroes  from  coming  to  or 
residing  in  the  state.  It  was  adroitly  laid  to  rest  by 
Green,  who  persuaded  McCarver  that  his  proposed 
section  properly  belonged  in  the  legislative  chapter  of 
the  constitution,  where,  however,  it  never  appeared. 

The  boundary  was  more  difficult  to  deal  with,  intro 
ducing  the  question  of  slavery  in  an  unexpected  phase. 
The  report  of  the  committee  on  boundary  included  in 
the  proposed  state  all  the  territory  between  the  line 
established  by  the  treaty  of  1848  between  Mexico  and 
the  United  States,  on  the  south,  and  the  parallel  of 
42°  on  the  north,  and  west  of  the  116th  meridian  of 
longitude.  McDougal,  chairman  of  the  committee, 
differed  from  it,  and  proposed  the  105th  meridian  as 
the  eastern  boundary,  taking  in  all  territory  acquired 
from  Mexico  by  the  recent  treaty,  and  a  portion  of 
the  former  Louisiana  territory  besides.  Semple  was 
in  favor  of  the  Sierra  Nevada  as  the  eastern  boundary, 
but  proposed  leaving  it  open  for  congress  to  decide. 
Gwin  took  a  little  less,  naming  for  the  eastern  line  the 
boundary  between  California  and  New  Mexico,  as  laid 

77  Gwin  says  in  his  Memoirs,  MS. ,  5,  that  on  the  day  of  Prest  Taylor's 
funeral  he  met  Stephen  A.  Douglas  in  front  of  the  Willard's  Hotel,  and  in 
formed  him  that  on  the  morrow  he  should  be  en  route  for  California,  which 
by  the  failure  of  congress  to  give  it  a  territorial  government,  would  be  forced 
to  make  itself  a  state,  to  urge  that  policy  and  to  become  a  candidate  for 
U.  S.  senator;  and  that  within  a  year  he  would  present  his  credentials.  He 
was  enabled  to  keep  his  word. 


down  on  Preuss'  map  of  Oregon  and  California  from 
the  survey  of  Fremont  and  others.  Halleck  suggested 
giving  the  legislature  power  to  accede  to  any  proposi 
tion  of  congress  which  did  not  throw  the  eastern  line 
west  of  the  Sierra;  to  which  Gwin  agreed.  "If  we 
include  territory  enough  for  several  states,"  said  the 
latter,"  it  is  competent  for  the  people  and  the  state  of 
California  to  divide  it  hereafter."  He  thought  the 
fact  that  a  great  portion  of  the  territory  was  unex 
plored,  and  that  the  Mormons  had  already  applied  for 
a  territorial  government,  should  not  prevent  them  from 
including  the  whole  area  named.  Then  arose  McCar- 
ver,  and  declared  it  the  duty  of  the  house  to  fix  a 
permanent  boundary,  both  that  they  might  know 
definitely  what  they  were  to  have,  and  to  prevent  the 
agitation  of  the  slavery  question  in  the  event  of  a  fu 
ture  division  of  "territory  enough  for  several  states." 
Shannon  proposed  nearly  the  line  which  was  finally 
adopted  for  California,  which  he  said  included  "  every 
prominent  and  valuable  point  in  the  territory;  every 
point  which  is  of  any  real  value  to  the  state  ;"  and  in 
sisted  upon  fixing  the  boundary  in  the  constitution. 
"  I  believe,  if  we  do  not,  it  will  occasion  in  the  congress 
of  the  United  States  a  tremendous  struggle/'  said  he ; 
and  gave  good  reasons  for  so  believing.  "  The  slave- 
holding  states  of  the  south  will  undoubtedly  strive 
their  utmost  to  exclude  as  much  of  that  territory  as 
they  can,  and  contract  the  limits  of  the  new  free  state 
within  the  smallest  possible  bounds.  They  will  nat 
urally  desire  to  leave  open  as  large  a  tract  of  country 
as  they  can  for  the  introduction  of  slavery  hereafter. 
The  northern  states  will  oppose  it  [the  constitution], 
because  that  question  is  left  open" — and  so  the  admis 
sion  of  California  would  be  long  delayed,  whereas  the 
thing  they  all  most  desired  was  that  there  should  be 
no  delay.  Hastings  also  took  this  view.  "  The  south 
will  readily  see  that  the  object  [of  Gwin's  boundary] 
is  to  force  the  settlement  of  the  question  [slavery ]. 
The  south  will  never  agree  to  it.  It  raises  the  ques- 


tion  in  all  its  bitterness  and  in  its  worse  form,  before 


These  remarks  aroused  Betts,  who  plunged  into  the 
controversy :  "I  understand  now,  from  one  of  the  gen 
tlemen  that  constitute  the  new  firm  of  Gwin  and  Hal- 
leek — the  gentleman  from  Monterey — who  avows  at 
last  the  reason  for  extending  this  eastern  boundary  be 
yond  the  natural  limits  of  California,  that  it  will  settle 
in  the  United  States  the  question  of  slavery  over  a 
district  beyond  our  reasonable  and  proper  limits,  which 
we  do  not  want,  but  which  we  take  i